With university drawing to an end for another crop of graduates, it is time to think about whether a graduate engineering job could be the right choice.
From designing bridges and buildings to the latest robotics and even Ed Sheeran’s next guitar, engineers have a hand to play in everything we do today – you only need to look as far as Sir Jonny Ive to be inspired by the possibilities. For graduates leaving university who may not have studied a form of engineering directly, it is too often a career choice that is not fully considered.
It’s time for graduates to look closer at a career in engineering:
The good news for anyone looking at graduate engineering jobs is that there is a high demand – 65% of engineering and technology graduates were in full-time employment within six months of graduating, according to Engineering UK’s 2016 report into the sector. This is largely down a gap in the UK between the numbers of people trained in STEM subjects and engineering and the number of jobs available. The availability of roles in certain fields can be an important factor for graduates leaving university today, with record levels of student debt. Graduates in England today are currently facing debt on graduation of over £50 000 plus interest. Whether it is a graduate engineering job or apprenticeship scheme, there are many opportunities in engineering out there – take a look at our latest vacancies here.
Skilling up for engineering and life
Working in graduate engineering jobs, offers the chance to develop skills for life. Not only are these applicable for engineering, but skills like problem solving, decision making and project management can be applied to any career path. This could mean moving between fields within engineering, like structural to civil engineering, but also to totally different industries.
In addition, engineering is always an evolving space with new areas like ‘green engineering’ and ‘high performance engineering’ emerging. From building glass bottomed bridges in China to data centres in The Netherlands, the possibilities brought by an engineering career are endless.
A day in the life of a graduate engineer
One of the most attractive things about entering into an engineering job is the variety that you can expect on a day-to-day basis. Far from being the types of professionals that work at a desk from 9-to-5, engineers can find themselves anywhere from the top of a city skyscraper to the middle of a forest on a daily basis, dealing with the task at hand.
A graduate engineer can also expect to work across teams, interacting with lots of different departments within a business. Consulting with clients, working as part of the team or dealing with third parties such as architects and designers, can all be part of the day job.
Nationwide engineering job opportunities
Many UK graduates opt for a one-way ticket to London straight out of university. Often described as ‘brain drain’, Centre for Cities found that the capital accounts for 22% of graduates who moved city and were now in work. In addition, the city attracted a disproportionate amount of high achievers - 38% of those new graduates who have a first or upper second class degree from a Russell Group university.
Graduates today however, could be looking for something beyond the bright lights of the big city. Engineering companies of all shapes and sizes, have operations across the country in places like Leamington Spa and Preston, which can offer a good quality of living in alternative locations. That’s without even thinking about the opportunities abroad…
Making your mind up
As a graduate, don’t be afraid of looking around and considering your options. Events can be a good opportunity for considering what your graduate career in engineering could look like. For example, there is a Graduate Engineering Show that takes place in Derby every year. Careers fairs and events, can allow you to mingle with engineers already in the industry as well as your peers, helping you to work out whether you believe it to be a path for you.
It may also be good idea to look into shadowing an engineer for the day or applying for a summer internship to get more of a favour of how the job might shape up on a daily basis. Deciding what you want can be difficult, but take time to consider options and speak to people within the industry.
A graduate job in engineering may not be for everyone, but the benefits often speak for themselves. Make sure to explore different opportunities and companies to find the right fit to kick start your career.