Engineers of Tomorrow – How Engineering Courses Can Open You to a Wealth of Opportunity
What do you think an engineer does on an engineering course? Do you see a picture of a man wearing a hard hat and dirty gloves with a spanner trying to fix an engine? If so, you wouldn’t be blamed for having that perception, but what happens when the word ‘engineer’ is changed to ‘designer’, ‘innovator’ or ‘creator’? A few different, more exciting images might spring to mind. The reality is that this perception that young people have of engineering is causing less 14-17 year olds to choose engineering courses and see it as a viable career option; and given that there are multiple advantages and perks of engineering jobs, combined with the fact that engineers are in huge demand in the UK, this needs to be corrected! A young university graduate called Chris Jacobs however did choose to study an engineering course – civil engineering to be precise – which has led him to go on to do great (and enviable) things. Here we’ll find out what inspired him to opt for a course in civil engineering and how it has shaped the future of his graduate career for the better.
First of all, let’s look at the concrete advantages that engineering jobs are well known for:
• Job security
• Work-life balance
“Companies are making the most of the economy starting back up by piling so much training in to their staff, meaning that by starting now, you could be an expert in something earlier than ever before in a career,” says Chris, “it’s an industry that invests more in its people than any other,” he adds. It is true that whilst most sectors have been suffering throughout the economic recession, the engineering sector not only has remained strong, but is also the key to ensuring economic growth. This means that there will always be jobs going for young engineers, and with a graduate starting salary of £25,000 they will be hard to turn down! On top of this, graduate engineers are continually ranked at the top end of the job satisfaction scale as the nature of their job means they are able to lead a separate lifestyle outside of work.
The above evidence provides the facts of engineering jobs that you can benefit from, but what is at the core of a career in engineering? What sort of person would make a good engineer? Chris thinks this lies in the ability to be imaginative and having the will to work hard and do something different, “I wanted to see my ideas get built and see things get done. It’s all about innovation now and one thing I most enjoyed about my course is that no one was discussing similar things. We all worked on really different projects over such a wide range of industries.” For example, the projects Chris worked on ranged from completely designing the whole of Exeter Airport, to having to create an innovative tech product. Chris and his team created a prototype and business strategy for a product that makes any touch screen device feel like Braille. It worked by sitting on the tip of the finger so that when it ran over words on a touch screen, a visually impaired or blind person would be able to feel the raised dots of the Braille alphabet. Most would agree that is rather impressive, not to mention original and definitely innovative. These types of technological skills combined with collaborative team skills and a knack for creative flair all make for a great engineer, as well as extremely employable.
If that’s not enough to be inspired, what about the fact that if you study an engineering course, you could end up getting paid to go on holiday! Chris participated in the Engineering Leadership Award scheme funded by The Royal Academy of Engineering and was awarded with a grant which allowed him to travel to Costa Rica and Panama in order to enhance his personal development. So if you have a passion for travel, engineering might be the career path to stick to – the British engineering industry is still one of the best in the world, therefore the opportunity to be shipped out to work abroad is incredibly likely.
For those reading this, whether you are or you know a young person who might currently be in a dilemma about deciding their future, hopefully by finding out a little bit about what an engineering student like Chris gets up to, your perception of what engineering is might have been altered and would more seriously consider taking an engineering course. Especially if you are a female reader as one of the main drawbacks plaguing the industry is the shortage of female engineers; however, this could work in your favour, and Chris agrees: “Girls who go into engineering are basically sorted for a career. They are better suited to the team work side of things and I find that women lead men very well.” So with all this being said, the message to be taken away from this article should be that if you think you are capable, get on to an engineering course, because you are wanted and you will be rewarded!
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