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Mechanical engineer

Alternative titles for this job include

Mechanical engineers design, build and install machinery used in industries like power, engineering, transport and manufacturing.

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 Starter

to

£52,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 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:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electromechanical engineering
  • mechatronics
  • engineering manufacturing

The Engineering Council has information on accredited courses.

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

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

This will help you to make contacts and pick up 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 complete a college course before going on to do a higher level engineering qualification or an apprenticeship. 

Courses include:

  • mechanical engineering
  • mechanical engineering technology
  • mechanical engineering - machine operations
  • T Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering

Before you finish your course, you could apply for a paid work placement through the Engineering Development Trust, which offers a chance to use your engineering skills and improve your career prospects.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could do an apprenticeship to become a mechanical engineer. These include:

  • Manufacturing Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship
  • Electro-Mechanical Engineer Level 6 Apprenticeship - leading to a professional qualification

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 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 a mechanical engineer from:

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • 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 confidently

What you’ll do

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a mechanical engineer, you could:

  • turn research ideas into technical plans, using computer aided design software
  • test mechanical systems and analyse data to make improvements
  • assess the safety of mechanical machinery and equipment
  • oversee maintenance programmes in buildings, power stations and production plants
  • manage 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'll be able to use your skills in industries, like:

  • manufacturing
  • construction
  • energy and utilities
  • transport

With experience, you could move into senior project management roles, specialise in research and development or become an engineering consultant.

You could work towards chartered engineer status through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. This would give you industry recognition of your skills and knowledge and open up more opportunities for career development.

Working in a university or teaching in further education are also options open to you.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Product Design Engineering Degree level 6 Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £22,112.00 Annually
  • Location: Bamber Bridge, Preston

Mechanical Engineering – Degree APPRENTICE (Level 6) Manufacturing Engineer

  • Wage: £22,112.00 Annually
  • Location: Bamber Bridge, Preston

Courses In England

HNC Engineering (Mechanical)

  • Provider: MID-KENT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Maidstone

HNC IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

  • Provider: HARTLEPOOL COLLEGE OF FURTHER EDUCATION
  • Start date: 16 September 2024
  • Location: HARTLEPOOL

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