What areas of engineering and manufacturing can I work in?

While areas of engineering include transport and logistics, energy and utilities and construction, the majority of job opportunities occur in the following areas:

Aerospace - employs more than 96,000 people in more than 3,000 companies who help supply both civil and military air transport.

Automotive - has a 730,000 strong UK workforce and thousands more apprentices. In 2011, the UK automotive industry employed 11% of new recruits from universities and higher education institutions. Biotechnology - science is at the root of the sector, with biotechnology harnessing cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technology and products.

Chemical - the industry is made up of 3,300 companies employing 200,000 people. The three main areas of activity include commodity, speciality and consumer chemicals.

Electrical and electronics - has the highest average number of engineering employers per organisation. More than 11,000 companies employ over 250,000 people.

Food and drink - is the largest industry in the UK manufacturing sector, employing up to 400,000 workers.

Metals, minerals and materials - this sector supports technological advances on a global scale. The UK has been at the forefront of the metals processing industry for hundreds of years.

Marine - the industry contains over 5,000 companies employing 90,000 workers in the UK. It manufactures and provides a range of small sectors.

Nuclear - not only does the UK nuclear industry provide 18% of the nation's electricity, it also exports to international markets. The industry directly employs 24,000 people and indirectly employs 20,000 more.

Nuclear - not only does the UK nuclear industry provide 18% of the nation's electricity, it also exports to international markets. The industry directly employs 24,000 people and indirectly employs 20,000 more.

Nuclear - not only does the UK nuclear industry provide 18% of the nation's electricity, it also exports to international markets. The industry directly employs 24,000 people and indirectly employs 20,000 more.

Oil and gas - supplies the UK with power to heat homes, fuel for transport and raw materials to produce other everyday items. The industry employs 440,000 workers, some offshore and others in technical positions or in commercial areas.

Pharmaceutical - is one of the largest sectors for investment in research and development. In the UK it employs 67,000 people.

Who are the main graduate employers?

The main companies in the aerospace industry are:

  • Airbus
  • BAE Systems
  • Boeing
  • Thales Group.

The top UK employers in the automotive industry include:

  • BMW Group
  • Ford
  • Jaguar Land Rover (JLR
  • Nissan
  • Toyota

Household names in the food and drink manufacturing industry include:

  • Cadbury
  • Nestle
  • Heinz

In oil and gas the main companies consist of:

  • BP
  • Schlumberger
  • Shell

Some examples of big names in the pharmaceutical sector are:

  • Beiersdorf UK Ltd
  • GlaxoSmithKline

What's it like working in the sector?

Graduates entering the engineering and manufacturing sector can expect:

to work in different environments depending on the sector. Many companies are industrial and have a factory environment, while you may also work in an office or even on an oil rig;

to earn an average of £24,615 a year working as an engineering professional, six months after graduating. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters survey, predicted salaries for 2011/12 graduates are £26,750 for manufacturing engineers, £25,500 for electrical engineers; £25,000 for mechanical engineers, and £24,500 for civil engineers;

to work differing hours depending on your role: a nuclear engineer works 35-40 hours a week on a shift basis, occasionally being called out for emergencies, while office hours will be a 9am to 5pm working week. Some roles will require employees to spend time abroad.

What are the key issues in the engineering and manufacturing sector?

It is thought that once the UK moves out of recession the engineering and manufacturing sectors will pick up. The government is backing initiatives to encourage young people to work in these sectors as it expects future growth.

Engineering - There are signs of an upturn in fortunes in the engineering sector after a tough few years since the recession first hit. In 2010/11, more UK first degree graduates found jobs as engineers six months after leaving university compared to the previous year.

Manufacturing - The manufacturing sector has struggled in recent years, with some international companies pulling out of the UK to save money. The problems in the Eurozone have combined with the UK recession and forced some businesses to close. However, some organisations, such as JLR, have found opportunities to take on more employees

The industry in a nutshell

Transport and logistics is a growing sector that plays a major role in the UK and global economy. Although affected by the economic downturn in 2008/09, the sector is still in a good position. There has been a reduction in customer spending power, but there has been a surge in public transport usage and a greater demand for effective and integrated transport/freight solutions.

Logistics enables efficient management of the supply chain by ensuring that goods or services are available where and when they are needed in good condition and at competitive prices.

Transport management aims to provide quality and cost-effective services to get passengers and freight from A to B. The industry uses air, sea or surface transport. The latter can be further divided into road, rail and pedestrian.

Currently, there is significant investment into the transport infrastructure in the UK leading into the 2012 Olympics. Projects include tram and light rail schemes, integrated public transport hubs, cycle routes and much more.

What kind of work can I do?

Because of the size and diversity of the sector there are numerous and varied opportunities for graduates.

Roles may involve:

  • Planning
  • Strategy
  • Management of people, projects, functions and products
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Customer services
  • Engineering
  • Research and development
  • Information technology
  • Health and safety

Some of the larger graduate training schemes across the sector allow you to sample working in different departments to get an overview of the company and the key skills required in different roles.

What’s it like working in this industry?

Transport and logistics exemplify the 24/7 culture. Some, but by no means all, roles require shift work including evenings, nights and weekends. In addition, depending on the role, travel may be a regular feature both locally, nationally and even internationally.

Environmental issues, sustainability, IT, further economic downturn (or upturn), fuel costs or a decrease in the world supply of fuel, changes in the sourcing of overseas products, social inclusion, global tourism trends, legislation and funding all currently affect the industry and will continue to have an impact in the future.

Graduate initial salaries can range from £15,000 to £18,000 and could have doubled within five years if progressing to managerial level (The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) UK, 2010).

How big is this industry?

The UK logistics industry is worth £74.45billion to the UK economy and employs around 2.3 million people in over 196,000 companies (Skills for Logistics, 2010). One in twelve working people in the UK works in logistics. Freight logistics companies either manage their own distribution system (own account operators), or manage it on behalf of another as ‘third-party logistics’ (3PL) or ‘hauliers’. Over 60% of UK freight is carried as 3PL.

The UK passenger transport industry is huge and comprises a small number of large employers together with many SMEs, sole traders and self-employed operators. There are approximately 126,000 people working in aviation, 159,000 in rail and 10,000 in transport planning. For further information on the amount of people working in this sector.

Where can I work?

There are opportunities to work all over the UK in most divisions of transport and logistics with increasing opportunities to work globally.

The industry in a nutshell

The health sector is made up of hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, medical and dental practices, ambulance transportation, complementary medicine and other human health activities, such as medical laboratories and scientific services, across a range of organisations within the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Opportunities within the sector are heavily influenced by national governmental policies. The current financial climate, combined with recent changes within The National Health Service (NHS), has had a major influence on the health sector labour market. The coalition government's White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ (July 2010) sets out the most significant reorganisation of the NHS in its history.

Other long-term trends shaping the sector include an ageing population, innovations in healthcare provision, the rising incidence and prevalence of people with long-term conditions and the growing expectations of patients themselves (Sector Skills Assessment, Skills for Health , 2009/10).

What kind of work can I do?

Jobs exist across a variety of career areas:

The medical profession - including doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists and ophthalmologists.

Nursing - including adult, paediatric, district, practice, mental health, sexual health, and specialist nurses, plus midwives and health visitors.

Dentistry - dentists and dental hygienists.

Medical-related scientific services - including audiologists, biomedical scientists, various clinical science roles, geneticists, haematologists, immunologists, medical physicists, microbiologists and physiological scientists.

Qualified medical support - including psychologists, community and hospital pharmacists, diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers, dietitians, exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists.

Assistant/support roles - including nursing assistants, nursery nurses, care assistants and health care assistants.

Qualified ambulance staff - paramedics and ambulance technicians.

Therapeutic services - including art therapists, dramatherapists and music therapists.

Complementary medicine - including acupuncturists, homeopaths, osteopaths, reflexologists and sports therapists.

Business support roles - in areas such as finance, HR and IT.

Associated support services - including catering, gardening and specialised managerial staff.

A number of occupations are on the Home Office Shortage Occupation List (HOSOL), whereby employers unable to recruit successfully from the UK/European Economic Area are permitted to recruit from overseas. See the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for a list of current shortage occupations.

What’s it like working in this industry?

Agenda for Change pay scales, which cover the majority of jobs within the NHS, are published on the NHS Careers website. Salaries range from £13,641 (Band 1, Point 1) to £97,478 (Band 9, Point 54). High area cost supplements are also listed.

Pay rates for NHS doctors are also available on the website, and range from a starting salary of £22,412 for a trainee doctor to a maximum salary of £176,242 for a senior, experienced consultant.

Private healthcare employers have their own salary systems, and rates of pay vary depending on employer, job role, level of experience and location. Overall, salaries tend to be slightly higher than in the public sector.

Just over 75% of staff in the sector are women. However, women are not well represented in the medical profession, particularly at consultant level, or among qualified ambulance staff and hospital porters. Approximately 19% of all occupational roles in the sector are occupied solely by women, and 24% solely by men.

There is a greater diversity of ethnicity in the sector’s workforce than in the UK economy as a whole, with around 14% being made up of non-white employees.

Around 45% of staff are aged 45 or over (LMI National Reports, Skills for Health , 2010).

Disability and work in health care is a complex matter. There are some jobs where certain disabilities are a barrier to employment, so it is essential to check with individual employers, professional bodies and course providers for specific guidance.

How big is this industry?

The UK health sector employs just over 2.1 million people, which represents around 8% of the total workforce. It is estimated that 73% of these work in the public sector (the NHS), with the remaining 27% working in the independent sector, including 2% in the voluntary sector. Workforce costs account for over 70% of spending in the sector (Skills for Health, 2009/10).

The two biggest occupational groups are nurses (just over 458,000) and medical practitioners (just over 203,000) (Skills for Health, 2009).

The sector is forecast to grow by 1% per year to 2014, which is slightly lower than in the 1990s. However, this growth rate is one of the highest per sector and is above the rate of growth expected for the overall economy (LMI, National Guidance Research Forum , 2009).

The independent sector has also grown as a result of more investment from private medical insurance and consumers willing to spend a greater proportion of their income on healthcare and personal services (Skills for Health, 2009).

Where can I work?

Jobs within the health sector are located throughout the UK and worldwide. Within the UK, the growth rate of employment is projected to be slightly higher in the Midlands and southern regions. The high cost of living and a buoyant labour market in the South East and London have created recruitment and retention problems (NHS Information Centre , 2009).

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