Whether you are already in engineering and looking to change roles or even fields, or perhaps you’re starting from scratch, simply put, it is never too late to retrain. In fact, many consider retraining later in life has its advantages, with a greater range of ‘life experiences’ helping you to stand out favourably to employers.
When it comes to a career in engineering, you also have the added bonus of the demand for talent remaining consistently high as the world continues to search for ways to respond to issues such as global warming, energy production, innovative technology and so much more. Such growing need has resulted in a shortage of engineers and for those looking to retrain this means a wealth of opportunities is out there waiting for them to seize.
With so much choice, it is worth carefully considering what your passions within engineering are, what drives you to succeed and what goals you have set for yourself before you begin to invest the time and efforts into retraining.
Here at BMR Solutions, we are ready to help you on your journey with our guide on everything you need to know about retraining in engineering.
Brief Guide to Engineering
The world of engineering is a complex one, but it is most commonly categorised into 5 key fields; Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Industrial, and Mechanical.
For each field there exists a whole host of further specialised disciplines including aerospace, nuclear, electrical, environmental, cybersecurity, AI and many, many more. Despite the range of specialisms and huge variance in the type of jobs that are involved, there are a number of common themes in terms of the qualities required of an engineer, which may help to understand the reasons behind the routine steps to becoming one.
Starting from Scratch
If you are retraining later in life, without a degree but do have good GCSE’s or A-Levels in maths, science and possibly IT, you may be able to train on the job. Some firms will even offer engineering degree apprenticeships and many smaller businesses benefit from the apprenticeship route to employing engineers as it allows them to train you in a way that adds maximum benefit to their business.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree
For some, an apprenticeship simply isn’t an option. It usually requires a full time commitment and possibly on a low wage in the early stages. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, may allow you to train alongside other work commitments as many universities will offer courses to mature students that are part time or run only in the evenings. As well as specialising in one of the key disciplines mentioned above, it is also an option to obtain a more general engineering degree, which can become more specialised in the final year of study. If you’re retraining and need to obtain your degree, make sure you research exactly what it is that the course has to offer and whether this is most suited to your desired career path. Many consider a bachelor’s degree a passport to a career in engineering. Without it, you cannot get in but with it, the possibilities are endless.
Retraining when you’re already Qualified
If you’ve been working in an engineering role already, you are likely to already be qualified and so there are a number of things you can do next to open up more opportunities and help you secure your dream job.
If you have decided on a more specific discipline you may consider earning a master’s or doctorate to expand and deepen your knowledge and skillset. A masters can be a good option for those who have an engineering related degree too. A mathematics degree for example, could allow you to retrain as an engineer by taking a masters in structural engineering as the two are heavily related. Bear in mind that a masters usually equates to two-years full time and a doctorate between five to seven years so make sure it really is necessary for your specific career goals before investing in so much time.
Further qualifications can also be obtained from shorter training programmes such as a specific piece of software. Some employers may be able to suggest a qualification they want you to have that you can do alongside a role with them or prior to applying.
Engineering events allow you to deepen your knowledge and also have valuable conversations either with employees or employers in a range of different engineering roles. You’ll find many events actually run online allowing you to grow your knowledge of the types of roles out there without travelling far and wide. Events can be a great way to help you understand more about what you want to retrain as and may even open up opportunities by networking with employers.
Within engineering, projects can range over a span of just a few months to years and years. In manufacturing, it may be the development of a new piece of equipment, for example. If you are looking for experience in a specific area of engineering, research whether there are any projects you can be involved in on a short-term basis possibly as a temp or even volunteer. This could allow you to gain experience in multiple fields or at different stages of a project, from trainee through to trying your hand at project management, depending on your prior knowledge and skillset.
Know the Market
A valuable part of retraining in any career is understanding what’s out there in terms of job opportunities. As well as keeping an eye on generic job sites, consider signing up to recruitment agencies that specialise in engineering. They’ll likely be able to offer expert knowledge and advise to help you understand more about the next steps in your journey and whether you need to gain more experience or qualifications to be successful in landing that dream job.
Learn More About BMR Solutions
Here at BMR Solutions, we provide unrivalled job opportunities within the engineering and manufacturing sectors. We work alongside the very best companies allowing us to offer some of the most exciting roles in the field.
For a search on our current jobs, take a look on our website, or get in touch with a member of our expert, ambitious and caring team who are ready and raring to help you to find your dream job today.