If you’ve trained as an engineer and can boast unrivalled project management skills that would put any Apprentice candidate to shame, then a career as a project engineer could be for you...
Ensuring a project is fit for purpose and adheres to the budget and schedule, this is a vital role in the engineering industry.
So, what will I actually be doing?
- Keep an eye on all relevant safety objectives and legal requirements
- Interpret clients' requirements
- Identify engineering problems and ensure solutions are implemented
- Evaluate, organise and prioritise workload within a schedule
- Liaise with third party contractors to ensure all equipment is fit for purpose
- Take responsibility for a team of engineers
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The nitty gritty
Your hours should be fairly regular – up to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday – but there will be busy periods as a project reaches its deadline. You will have an office but you’ll still spend a lot of your time working on site or visiting clients and contractors so you won't always be stuck behind a desk.
If you enjoy the job, there's plenty of room to progress and make a career from it. You could progress to senior engineer, research and development manager or project manager, and eventually overall operations manager. If management isn't really for you, a move into consultancy could be ideal.
Money, money, money
Graduate starting salaries are between £22k and £25k a year. Salaries for experienced engineers are between £35k and £50k and senior engineers can earn up to £60k per annum.
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The good points...
You’ll never be bored in this job as you’ll be too busy juggling tasks and meeting new people – plus there’ll always be a new project around the corner.
...and the bad
When things aren’t going to plan, you’ll be the one who has to explain what went wrong...good luck with that.
Is there study involved?
Not something you can jump straight in to, this job requires plenty of engineering expertise, so applicants will need to be educated to at least a HND/HNC or degree level in an engineering subject. You'll also need training in CAD and it’s likely you’ll need additional qualifications that are specific to the field of engineering you want to work in.
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OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To be a successful project engineer you’ll need a broad range of skills, including:
- Excellent IT skills
- Lots of initiative
- Great organisational skills
- The ability to explain design ideas and plans clearly
- Confident decision-making ability
- Excellent communication skills
- The ability to work within budgets and to deadlines
- A comprehensive knowledge of relevant legal regulations
- Good team-leading skills