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Materials engineer Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career as a Materials engineer

Working in various industries, a materials engineer is accountable for the research, specification, design and development of materials, advanced technologies and products. Materials engineers predominantly work with materials such as metals, ceramics and plastics. They are experts in understanding the properties and behaviours of different substances from raw materials to finished products.

What does a Materials engineer do?
Precise daily duties can vary according to the specific industry, organisation or the materials an engineer is required to work with. However, there are a number of more generalised tasks a materials engineer is required to carry out, as outlined below:

  • Developing prototypes

  • Using computer modelling software to analyse data

  • Choosing the best combination of materials for specific purposes

  • Considering the financial implications of materials

  • Communicating regularly with colleagues in other departments

  • Advising on inspection, maintenance and repair procedures

  • Monitoring plant conditions and material reactions during use

  • Developing new methods of testing

  • Training technicians and lab workers

  • Consideration for waste and other environmental pollution issues of a particular product

  • Ordering supplies

  • Staying up-to-date on industry standards, government regulations and new developments in the industry

  • Assessing materials for specific qualities

  • Supervising quality control throughout the construction and production process

  • Dealing with issues as they arise

  • Supervising quality control throughout the construction and production process

  • Testing materials to assess how resistant they are to heat, corrosion or chemical reactions

Skills & interests required for a Materials engineer
To become a materials engineer, you will likely need to be able to display an aptitude for working in a laboratory, with solid practical skills as well as a good understanding of Chemistry. You will need to have a good head for numbers, as well as the ability to problem solve in a clear and logical fashion.

Materials engineers may also need to be able to write-up reports for non-experts, so clear written communication skills are definitely valued.
- Analytical skills
- Commercial Awareness
- Data Analysis
- Engineering
- Numeracy
- Organisation
- Planning
- Teamwork
- Technical skills
- Written Communication
What hours does a Materials engineer typically do?
Material engineers can expect to work 35 to 40 hours a week; shift work may be involved depending on the industry.
What environment is a Materials engineer based in?
Materials engineers are based in offices or laboratories, but many roles will also involve visiting suppliers and/or manufacturing sites.
How much does a Materials engineer travel?
Materials engineers sometimes have opportunities to travel overseas with projects.
How much does a Materials engineer get paid?
Salaries will vary depending on location of work and industry.

Generally, a starting salary for a materials engineer can range between £20,000 and £26,000 per annum, and with experience can rise to between £27,000 and £50,000 per annum.

Senior engineers with chartered status can expect up to £60,000 per annum.
What qualifications does a Materials engineer need?
A materials engineer is required to have a degree in materials engineering, technology or science. While many entry-level positions will be reserved for graduates, there are also an increasing number of apprenticeship positions available - these will offer you the chance to earn a salary and gain hands-on experience of the industry while also completing your degree qualification.

It is useful for a materials engineer to have a degree or Masters accredited by a relevant professional body, such as the The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3, as this can help achieve the chartered engineer status at a later date.

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