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Career Options in Engineering: Student

If you’re studying an engineering related degree, there are a huge amount of potential roles on offer to you beyond the pearly graduation gates. Now’s the time to do your research and crank up your experience!

Undergraduate opportunities in Engineering

  • Internships/Placements
  • Speculative work experience applications
  • Engineering Societies and careers events
  • Graduate scheme applications.

You’ll find internships out there in aerospace, electronic and electrical, mechanical, civil, material and minerals, chemical and computing engineering.

Some of these opportunities will take the place of structured summer placements – normally paid – during which you’ll get to work as part of a team in your chosen area, picking up new skills and getting a real taste of work. This is also a great chance to do some networking and pick up some useful industry contacts for when it comes to your graduate applications. The majority of these internships or open to students from related degree disciplines, such as maths, engineering, physics or computer science, as at last some technical knowledge will be necessary, and they’re usually most suited to students in looking for experience in the summer following their first or second year.

Then there are the sandwich year placements – year long placements will form a structured part of a degree programme. Students who have chosen the year in industry option as part of their degree will have to get cracking applying for advertised opportunities in good time in order to be prepared for taking the year out in the third year to go and work full-time in engineering. It’s a wise choice; with a lot of students out there with the relevant degrees to head into engineering, a placement year is one great way of making yourself stand out. It may even lead to a graduate role if you do well. Final year without the job stress at the end of it all? That’ll do nicely, thank you.

Aside from these formal work experience opportunities, don’t forget to get involved in the events and competitions run by your university’s Engineering Society. Careers events can throw up loads of chances to learn about an area of engineering you may not have considered yet and meet industry leaders and representatives. There’s no harm in casting out a few carefully tailored speculative applications for work experience to local companies either!

Top Tips

Use your connections! Your university will have a highly structured programme of events to help you learn all about what’s available to you as a student interested in an engineering degree. Organised events can be a great way to network and meet industry representatives, which could help you in your applications for internships, placements and graduate careers.

Why not get involved with national engineering competitions too? This could also be a great way to develop your skills, meet industry representatives, and plump up your CV.

Deadlines to consider

Engineering companies tend to have a yearly graduate intake, so if you want to walk straight into you job fresh from the graduation podium the start doing your research into potential employers early on in your final year. Application windows for each yearly intake for many companies will usually close before the Easter break, so don’t slack off in your first few weeks of final year – it’s prime job application time!

Universities will provide guidance throughout your when it comes to finding a placement for your year in industry, and may have partner organisations you can apply to. There will still be deadlines though, and if there is a particular company you’re desperate to spend your year with then, again, do your research as early as possible.

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