Apprentice Engineer or Intern
Many engineers start off as apprentices or interns. Internships are especially popular amongst students working towards engineering degrees. The work experience and connections gained through internships can make securing an intern role highly competitive for soon-to-be graduates. As employers continue to stress the value of experience in addition to academics, apprenticeships and intern opportunities offer engineers work experience that boosts their applications for graduate or junior engineering roles. In addition, many businesses hosting internships or work experience opportunities go on to offer those who complete placements, permanent positions. Businesses that offer graduate internships include BAE Systems, EDF Energy and Rolls Royce.
The responsibilities allocated to a junior engineer could mirror those given to an entry level or graduate engineer, but this will vary from one business to the next. Responsibilities may include completing smaller, specific tasks with guidance from more senior engineers. Involvement in projects will be proportional to the role, with junior engineers playing smaller roles in larger projects. At this stage, an employee should be in active pursuit of new information and guidance from superiors in order to broaden professional knowledge while demonstrating competence and responsiveness to feedback within basic tasks.
Engineers are highly skilled workers that have gained experience and feedback during the preceding roles and experience opportunities. This team member will begin to take on more independent projects, offering independent reviews of others’ work and offering guidance to junior and entry level employees.
Senior Engineering roles are often only accessible following a number of years’ experience within preceding engineering roles. The number of years may vary from one business to the next, so a candidate may wish to enquire within their company. A senior engineer will consistently produce highly skilled work and demonstrate a high level of expertise within their area. This role will also see its occupant make large individual contributions to projects of all sizes, including long term projects, offering leadership and guidance to those below. Senior engineers are also likely to make contributions to recruitment and interview processes.
At this point, many models split, allowing engineers to take individual or team-based tracks.