The role of the mechanical engineer is to turn ideas into a physical reality. Whether you’re creatively or critically-minded, a career in mechanical engineering has the potential to enrich, allowing you to delve deep into the design process, as well as the development, construction, testing, and research relating to various types of machines, tools, engines and thermal devices.
One thing that makes the mechanical engineering graduate so consistently sought-after is that almost every industry relies on mechanical systems and devices, making mechanical engineers desirable in just about every business worldwide.
Though the field of engineering is considered one of the oldest, it’s one that remains in constant demand. According to a 2014 report by Forbes, jobs among mechanical engineers have increased by 21,500 since 2010 and are expected to increase over the next five years. The study also shows that mechanical engineers account for the second-highest number of jobs in the U.S. engineering field.
Despite an increasingly competitive employment market, prospective students and fresh graduates have little to worry about, with a 2015 report by Glassdoor’s recruitment agency showing that mechanical engineers are among the most in-demand professionals. “Both mechanical and civil engineers also rate highly for career opportunities and this figure comes directly from people who do this job themselves,” says Joe Wiggins, a Glassdoor career trends analyst.
Mechanical engineers are also known to be jacks-of-all-trades, with a transferable skill set that makes them ideal for industries such as aerospace, chemical, defence, fast moving consumer goods, marine, pharmaceuticals, and utilities.
Although the job market looks positive, it’s important for prospective students to ensure they make themselves highly employable – and what better way to do so than by choosing a university that believes in these same values.
Here are 5 leading UK universities you should really look out for if you’re interested to see where a career in Mechanical Engineering could take you.
Ranked 1st in the nation for the quality of its Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, the University of Strathclyde prides itself on training engineers ready and able to take on real-world issues. Although Strathclyde has a long history of teaching engineering and applied science, the department has a reputation for modern teaching and learning methods.
“Studying at Strathclyde gave me the necessary skill set to be successful in acquiring two summer placements with Rolls Royce and Airbus,” says Hannah Jones, a MEng Aero-Mechanical Engineering student. Prospective students who apply to the school can choose from two types of undergraduate courses – BEng or MEng degrees, taught over the course of four or five years.
Students of Strathclyde’s MEng degrees can choose to specialise in a range of subjects that can then be reflected in their final degree title. The department also offers six postgraduate taught courses and research degrees covering areas like energy, aerospace, fluids and materials.
Aside from lessons indoors, students participate in various activities like the Outdoor Management Skills course at Outward Bound Scotland, and the national competition to build a Formula Student racing car. To top it off, the University has a successful history of working with industry partners that help boost student employability by equipping them with today’s most relevant skills.
As one of the leading Mechanical Engineering departments in the UK, the school has a reputation for offering theoretical and practical experiences for students, innovative research and strong industrial links that to lead to meaningful employment opportunities. The school offers several accredited undergraduate degrees, providing students with a secure route to Chartered Engineer status.
The Department’s programmes follow a common first two years where students can choose from a variety of subjects before honing in on an area of interest, or widening their scope by venturing into business and management.
The Department also strongly believes in practical application of engineering theory, which leads to a group design project where students put their knowledge into practice throughout their third year. This continues into the fourth year where students work on a full-time individual project within a specialist topic.
Known for its industry-relevant courses, the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds has flexible undergraduate degrees that allow students to switch courses until the end of their second year.
Offering six undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, students learn via a mix of laboratory classes, traditional lecturers, seminars and project work that provide plenty of hands-on experience. And with 90 percent of its recent graduates securing a professional job or furthering their studies within six months of graduation, engineering students are in good hands at the University of Leeds.
For those who want to begin an academic career, the School offers research degrees combined with great research facilities and close working relationships with the industry. At the University of Leeds, you’ll have a friendly, supportive and diverse community of engineers to talk to for guidance and advice.
The School also has long-established links, giving students the chance to work with companies like Jaguar and Land Rover.
With 85 percent of the School of Mechanical Engineering’s research rated as world-leading, you know Engineering at Birmingham is an institution that means business. The school offers undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Automotive) BEng and MEng, Mechanical Engineering BEng and MEng, Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Year MEng as well as an Engineering Foundation Year.
All programmes are designed to produce graduates who are numerate, organised and skilled problem-solvers while possessing a wide range of professional skills that complement their technical abilities.
The institution also offers seven postgraduate taught degrees and a PhD degree by research for those hoping to venture into a specific area. In addition, the University has strong links within the industry and is one of the top six UK institutions that industry targets for new recruits.
Recent graduates have secured employment with companies like BP, Albright Patents LLP and Aston Martin, just to name a few.
Labelled as the ‘University for Jobs’ by the Sunday Times, the University of Surrey is popular among students for its accredited and modern academic programmes, its strong links with industry, and its independently-owned satellite company.
In addition to a solid academic programme, students benefit from the opportunity to apply theory to practice by participating in hands-on practical projects, much like the Formula Student project. The Department also boasts a professional training year in which students greatly boost their chances of finding graduate employment.
It also provides you with the chance to see what the industry is like, plus you also receive a salary of around £14,500 per year. On top of earning a salary of around £14,500 per year, the placement also enhances interpersonal and management skills that are valued by employers.
Previous students have worked for British Airways and Vauxhall Motors, among many more. The Department also offers postgraduate taught degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Materials, plus PhD and MPhil research degrees in areas of research interest.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International