Another area of engineering that offers a wide range of courses and career prospects is mechanical engineering.
In the UK, there is believed to be around 77 thousand mechanical engineers employed, based on statistics recorded between 2011 to 2020.
Postgraduate courses can increase your chance of becoming employed and be attractive to employers. Why not begin your journey now?
What is mechanical engineering?
Mechanical engineering is the designing and manufacturing of machinery and equipment. It involved creating parts of these machines and equipment so they work effectively and carry out their desired tasks. This can be anything from a car to a jet.
What does a mechanical engineer do?
The day to day duties of a mechanical engineer may differ depending on the exact job at hand and your role in that. Electrical engineers work on products/parts for many industries from health to transport. Duties may include:
- Agree budgets, timelines and deadlines for specific projects
- Assess project requirements
- Measure performance of devices, engines, equipment
- Carry out analyses of mechanical components
- Record, document and keep records and documentation
- Test and re-test components
- Evaluate tests and modify parts where necessary
- Adapt to developments in the industry and make changes to products to keep up with that
- Ensure all components, systems and products meet health and safety requirements and standards
- Ensure environmental regulations are met
- Liaise with management and clients
- Use computer aided and design software
- Carry out presentation of designs to managers and clients
- Provide technical advice
- Produce desired designs fit for purpose
- Maintain and modify equipment already created
- Undertake relevant research
- Liaise with suppliers
There are many courses to choose from across the UK. Some courses offer the option of studying part time or full time. There may also be Covid-19 restrictions in particular universities. Examples of courses available include:
Postgraduate courses in mechanical engineering will allow students to expand their knowledge of the discipline while ensuring they meet requirements for professional engineering. Topics covered include materials and manufacturing, finite element analysis, computer-aided design and manufacture as well as machine condition monitoring. Other focuses include project planning, methodology, strategy and innovation and computer -aided engineering.
There are also courses available in Advanced Mechanical Engineering which put a large focus on computational methods and packages in mechanical engineering analysi, design and manufacture to solve complex engineering problems. These courses will differ from university to university in specific modules and topics covered but for the most part, students will be able to tailor these courses to suit their interests. They also offer advanced facilities for students.
There are also courses available in Institute of Mechanical Process and Energy Engineering and Advanced Mechanical Engineering with Management among other courses that can be found online.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course and university to university. In most cases, you will be required to have a 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Some courses may accept a 2.2 honours degree. It is important to research your particular course to make sure you meet specific requirements.
Potential employers for mechanical engineers may include:
- Engineering companies
- Transport companies
- Manufacturing and construction engineers
- Research organisations
- The Civil Service
- Utilities companies
- Government agencies
The average salary of a mechanical engineer in the UK is around £31,647. Starting out, your salary may be lower, possibly between £20,000-£28,000. With time and experience, your salary can increase to between £25,000-£35,000. Those with many years experience may earn closer to £50,000. These figures are based on estimates gathered from a sample of salaries of mechanical engineers.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements that are helpful, and often necessary, in this field:
- Strong technical skills
- Problem solver
- Critical thinker
- Excellent communication skills
- Work well under pressure
- Able to work independently and with others
- Strong written skills
- Ability to research and analyse data effectively
- Commercial awareness