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Mechanical engineer

Alternative titles for this job include

Mechanical engineers research and design mechanical products and systems, and oversee them being made, used and repaired.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter

to

£52,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

36 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a mechanical engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a higher national diploma or degree in subjects like:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electromechanical engineering
  • mechatronics
  • engineering manufacturing

The Engineering Development Council has information on accredited courses.

You should try to get some work experience during your course through things like:

  • internships
  • summer or Easter vacation schemes
  • a year placement in industry
  • a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) ambassador scheme

This will help you to make contacts and gain work skills that will be useful when you start applying for graduate jobs.

Your university careers service can help you find suitable opportunities.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics

More Information

College

You could do a Level 4 and 5 Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at college before looking for work.

You can get work experience and make contacts in the industry, through year in industry schemes like those run by the Engineering Development Trust.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could do a higher or degree apprenticeship to become a mechanical engineer.

Some relevant apprenticeships include:

  • Manufacturing engineer degree apprenticeship
  • Electro-mechanical engineer higher apprenticeship
  • Power and propulsion gas turbine engineer higher apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start as a mechanical engineering technician and do further training on the job to qualify as an engineer.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become an engineer through the:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • turn research ideas into technical plans, using computer aided design/modelling (CAD/CAM)
  • carry out surveys of mechanical systems and equipment
  • research and assess new products and innovations
  • present design plans and data to managers and clients
  • produce other technical documents
  • support the contract team when bidding for new work
  • oversee maintenance programmes and quality control
  • manage and lead a project team of technicians, designers and other engineering professionals

Working environment

You could work in an office, in a factory or visit sites.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You may be able to use your skills in private or public sector companies in different industries, like:

  • manufacturing
  • construction
  • energy and utilities
  • government organisations

With experience you could work towards incorporated or chartered engineer status. You could move into people, business or project management roles. You may specialise in a particular field, work in research and development or become an engineering consultant.

You could also teach in a further education college.

Find out more about teaching in further education from Teach in further education.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Electro Mechanical Engineering Apprentice

  • Wage: £20,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Central Boulevard, Prologis Park, Coventry

2023 Mechanical Apprentice - Reading

  • Wage: £18,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Green Park, Reading, Berkshire

Courses In England

TU Level 4 HNC in Mechanical Engineering

  • Provider: DARLINGTON COLLEGE
  • Start date: 25 September 2023
  • Location: Darlington

HNC Engineering (Mechanical)

  • Provider: MID-KENT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Maidstone

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