Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers develop and design the components and machinery used in manufacturing, construction and other industries.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter

to

£55,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

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
  • applying directly

University

You could do a higher national diploma or degree in:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electromechanical engineering
  • mechatronics
  • engineering manufacturing

Some courses include a year working in industry. This experience could be useful when you start applying for jobs after finishing your course.

You could also arrange your own work placement with a company.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • 2 or 3 A levels, 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.

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 may be able to get into this career by doing a manufacturing engineer degree 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.

Direct application

You can apply for jobs directly if you've got qualifications and several years' experience in engineering.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become an engineer through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Tomorrow's Engineers.

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

Day-to-day tasks

Your duties could include:

  • turning research ideas into technical plans, using computer aided design/modelling (CAD/CAM)
  • carrying out surveys of mechanical systems and equipment
  • researching and assessing new products and innovations
  • presenting design plans and data to managers and clients
  • producing other technical documents
  • supporting the contract team when bidding for new work
  • overseeing maintenance programmes and quality control
  • managing and leading a project team of technicians, designers and other engineering professionals

Working environment

You could work at a client's business, in an office or in a factory.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

You could work for local and central government, the armed services, manufacturers in all industries, research and development facilities and public utilities.

With incorporated or chartered engineer status you could move into project management roles, specialise in a particular field, work in research or become an engineering consultant.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Engineering Apprentice

  • Wage : £150.00 Weekly
  • Location: Evesham WR11 2QU

Defence Engineering Degree Apprenticeship - Ministry of Defence

  • Wage : £15,796.00 Annually
  • Location: Bristol BS34 8JH

Courses In England

Engineering (Mechanical) - BEng Hons Degree (Part-Time)

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 08 September 2020
  • Location: Blackpool

BEng (Hons) Degree Mechanical Engineering

  • Provider: LAKES COLLEGE WEST CUMBRIA
  • Start date: 12 January 2022
  • Location: WORKINGTON

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