Fancy a career in the military but don't fancy being a soldier? Why not become a defence engineer, where you'll be responsible for the design, construction and repair of military vehicles and equipment.
on this scale is a team activity, and you'll work with a team of professional engineers.
So, what will I actually be doing?
You could work in any of the following disciplines:
As an incorporated engineer, you would specialise in the day-to-day management of engineering operations. At chartered level, you would have a more strategic role, planning, researching and developing new ideas, and streamlining management methods.
With experience and incorporated or chartered status, you could move into senior project management positions, specialise in particular fields or work as a consultant.
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The nitty gritty
You'll work between 35 and 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.
Your time will be split between the office and working on site. Sitework would be in all weathers and may involve extensive travel, sometimes overseas, depending on the contract.
Money, money, money
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
- Income for new graduate engineers is between £19,500 and £23,000 a year.
- Experienced engineers earn between £24,000 and £37,000.
- Chartered engineers can earn around £49,000 year.
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The good points...
Like to travel? Pack your suitcase because there's opportunities to work overseas
...and the bad
Don't expect to have an easy life as constant training is part of the job. Because the UK Defence industry is ever-changing and constantly faces new security challenges, there's an ever-increasing need for your skills to remain at the cutting edge of scientific and technological advancements, so there's no time to be lazy.
Is there study involved?
You normally need a three-year Bachelor of Engineering degree (BEng) or four-year Masters degree (MEng).
To get on a course you will need at least five GCSEs (A-C) and two or three A levels, including maths and a science subject (normally physics), or equivalent qualifications to get onto a degree course. Colleges and universities may accept a relevant Access to Higher Education award for entry to certain courses. Please check with them for their exact entry requirements.
Alternatively, you could work your way up if you are already in the industry, for example, working as an engineering technician. By studying part-time or on the job for a BTEC HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree, you could eventually qualify.
You can find more information about careers and relevant courses through the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), ConstructionSkills and Women into Science, Engineering and Construction websites. The Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland) has careers and course information for that area.
Usually, you will start your professional life on a company's graduate training scheme. These schemes give you the chance to get involved in projects under the supervision of a mentor, and are designed to develop your technical knowledge and business skills. Over time, you would take on more responsibility. Training schemes often last between one and two years.
You could help your career development by working towards incorporated or chartered status. To do this, you should register with your professional industry body and apply to the Engineering Council.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To be a defence engineer, you'll need:
- Excellent maths, science, and IT skills
- The ability to explain design ideas and plans clearly
- The ability to analyse large amounts of data and assess solutions
- Confident decision-making ability
- Excellent communication skills
- Project management skills
- The ability to work within budgets and to deadlines
- Good teamworking skills
- A keen interest in and comprehensive knowledge of defence issues.