Starting to investigate a new job option will often be a laborious task,
fraught with bad and inconsistent advice...
Because of the current financial climate, many ordinary people are seeking to protect their futures through training into an alternative career.
If you're pondering what career to take - begin your journey with our breakdowns of many different career-paths.
It's simple - just click on the career option to get going...
The word Engineer covers a very wide range of disciplines. It's likely that you're looking for a chance to contribute technically and creatively if you want to get into either aero engineering or auto engineering. The aerospace industry in the UK is world-class, and is one of the most diverse and technically advanced industries to be employed in today. Automotive design, development and production are significant employers, and the UK motorsport industry is recognised globally.
Training in the UK is excellent - in fact there are over thirty British universities offering aeronautical engineering based courses alone. Graduates can also follow on and take a PhD or MSc if they wish. (Other colleges and institutions offer training in the subjects as well).
Most degree courses last from between three and five years, depending on whether the student is working towards BEng or MEng, and whether a year in industry is opted for.
Sandwich courses can also be available on certain training programmes. Equally, it's also possible for some students to arrange sponsorship (for example from the Army) if they're prepared to commit to them after training. It really is good advice to do your research thoroughly, as there are such a lot of alternatives to consider.
Automotive engineering covers everything to do with designing and building cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses. It takes in elements of many other engineering disciplines. With new technologies such as ultra low emissions, active suspensions, composite material structures and electric vehicles, there is much to challenge the thought processes of the student.
If you take the critical path of a vehicle, you have design, development and then manufacture. Design engineers obviously come up with the vehicle's design, but they also have to check each component part.
The second discipline is covered by development engineers, who engineer all the features of the vehicle. Developers supply designers with various specs they have to comply with. Determining how to make the automobile is the job of the manufacturing engineers.
Students will find their training is both extensive and intense. Subjects will include performance, ergonomics, emissions, fuel economy, aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics to name but a few. There are also very strict regulations to be learned and adhered to in safety engineering. It's one thing for a component or system to work in isolation, but quite another for it to work in harmony with everything else on the vehicle.
Thus students will be taken through aspects of development or systems engineering. Development engineers have to look at tradeoffs to gain an acceptable level of performance in all areas. Development engineers ultimately have to be sure that everything on the completed vehicle not only meets the manufacturers spec, but is also compliant with the latest regulations.
The process is ready for the manufacturing engineers once all the product design and development work has been done. Manufacturing engineers need to learn how to plan and engineer both the individual parts and the whole vehicle assembly. This complex discipline is sometimes regarded as the most esteemed area of automotive engineering.
We think of aeronautical engineering as the science of aircraft, but it also embraces space technology and missiles. Studying for an aeronautical engineering degree will prepare you for a successful and highly respected career within the aerospace industry. (Formula One design engineers use aerospace technology as well, if that appeals to you).
All aircraft have to endure severe conditions and stresses, such as changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature, and structural loading on the components. Therefore aerospace engineering divides into very specialist areas, such as materials science and aerodynamics, which all come together to form the whole.
With a strong emphasis on analytics, training will include all aspects of design, materials, forces and integration of systems. Analytical subjects like thermodynamics are usually taught through lectures and tutorials. Study is divided into theoretical mathematical elements and empirical testing - much of which is done by computerised simulations in commercial environments. (However students will still carry out experiments using jet engines, large structural testing machines and wind tunnels).
Applying yourself to practical applications is an important engineering principle. Both BEng and MEng degree courses will incorporate practical project work to be carried out in teams. Other more broad based vocational skills may be incorporated into an engineering degree programme. Employers often expect graduate entrants to have additional soft skills when they get into industry.
The aerospace industry provides excellent career development into a variety of technical and managerial roles. To apply for professional status following graduation, engineers should contact the Engineering Council - a national body that promotes and advances the science and practice of engineering.