TheBigChoice uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more >>

Where Can A Career In Transport Take You?

ZUSED Transport Grad C.jpg


On a very basic level, transport involves getting people, or things, from point A to point B. When people think of this industry they see long-haul truckers or maybe a taxi driver. However, teams of staff are needed across all modes of transport including rail, air, sea and roads, to ensure they are managed safely.

Transport routes don’t just appear by magic, they need to be carefully planned and then approved before they can be built. The routes also need to be maintained to make sure that they can support future generations.

Transport planners have to be savvy about policies, sustainability issues and have a head for numbers.

Over the next five years more than £61 billion has been allocated to improving different transportation links within the UK, through projects such as HS2 and the A14 road upgrade, so it’s a valuable time to get into the industry.

To execute these projects, the transport industry relies on talented engineers, designers, project managers and logistics experts. No matter what your skill set is, there will be a role available for you in transport.

Skills & interests required

To work within transport you will need to have a logical mind, particularly if you are on the planning side. You will also require a good understanding of policies and regulations to ensure that projects will pass the planning committee.

Problem solving is another key skill within transport as it is an industry that can be affected by a number of external factors – like the weather. You may have to come up with multiple solutions for a problem and be able to think creatively to get around them.

For some roles you may be required to manage projects, which will require you to be highly organised and able to multitask effectively. In these projects you will also have to liaise with multiple teams and be able to communicate with those both inside and outside of your industry.

You may also require a full, clean driving licence depending on your role.

Additional skills that will help you in this industry include:

- Commercial Awareness
- Communication
- Dependability
- Presentation Skills
- Technical skills

Typical Career Progression Routes for Graduates in Transport

There is no set progression route within transport because it will depend on the path you decide you go down.

You could be a driver of a ship, plane, car or train. In these cases, your pay will likely increase with experience – particularly if you then go on to teach others.

As a planner you would progress through taking on more responsibilities on larger projects before eventually managing your own. Alternatively, graduates in transport planning can progress into town planning, policy development or consultancy.

Tips for getting into the field

Try to source work experience and shadowing opportunities. All local authorities have a transport department, so this could be your first port of call to find a placement.

Types of jobs in Transport

Earning potential

According to the National Careers Service you will start at around £22,000 per annum in transport planning, which can rise up to £50,000 with experience.

Here are some other average salaries of common jobs within the transport industry:

Train driver - £47,705
Pilot - £36,000 to start, but this can increase to £140,000
Cabin Crew - £21,000
Road worker - £16,000-£40,000
Bus driver - £22,000

Qualification requirements & subjects to study

The qualifications that you require to work in transport will entirely depend on the role that you wish to do. To be a pilot, for example, requires you to follow a very specific training path with practice flying and examinations.

To work in transport planning you will typically require a degree in a related field such as economics or geography. Then you will need to get a master’s in transport planning.

As a road worker, you will require the practical skills (and sometimes qualifications) to operate heavy machinery.

As you can see, the skillset and requirements for the transport industry is wide and varied – there will definitely be something suited to everyone!

Industry bodies

Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
Chartered Institute of Highways Transportation
Transport Planning Society
Confederation of Passenger Transport UK