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There are loads of opportunities for graduates within the engineering sector, with roles on offer for both those who have studied a specific engineering degree as well as providing roles in technical sales, finance, human resources, procurement, marketing and logistics.

The Engineering Employers Federation has around 6,000 member firms, employing close to a million people. Opportunities exist in Yorkshire with branches of major national and international engineering companies and manufacturing firms, as well as smaller local contractors.

The UK metals, mechanical and electrical sector is an important part of the overall economy, with a turnover of over £94 billion, or about 3% of total UK turnover. There are about 54,000 companies, employing around 800,000 people.

The engineering industry has a strong presence (and history) in Yorkshire bringing in around £5 billion a year and employing 170,000 people. A diverse range of engineering opportunities is on offer within the region. South Yorkshire for example contains some of the most advanced engineering companies in the world, making items ranging from swing bridges to ice skates, hip joints to Formula 1 engines and 60% of the UK's passenger planes use parts made in companies across Yorkshire.

Employment within this sector is varied but most operations fall into the following areas:

Advanced Engineering & Metals (AEM): The Yorkshire region has a significant focus on the advanced engineering and metals sub-sector. It is one of the four largest of Yorkshire Forward's seven clusters, identified as having the potential to deliver significant economic growth in the future.

The Advanced Manufacturing Park at Rotherham focuses on the promotion of advanced engineering, metals and innovative materials. Based at the Park is the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, The Welding Institute specialist facility and Castings Technology International. The aim of these specialist companies is to work collaboratively across industry and with universities to provide high-quality advanced manufacturing services and innovation.

Built environment: Growth in housing and increased investment in schools, hospitals and airports means that there are now significant opportunities for civil engineers. See the ‘Civil Engineering' section under Construction & Property for more information.

Defence & aerospace: Opportunities exist with the major companies that develop aircraft, satellites, missiles, and navigation and electronic guidance systems, as well as with the many smaller firms that supply them.

Energy: There are opportunities for engineers from varying disciplines in the electricity, gas and oilsectors. Opportunities are also increasing in the area of environmental protection and in the search for alternative energy sources. The Environmental Energy Technology Centre at the Advanced Manufacturing Park near Rotherham will help companies to develop future energy and environmental technologies more effectively and quickly.

Manufacturing: although companies are increasingly moving their manufacturing bases abroad, opportunities continue to exist in the design of products such as electronic systems, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry. There are also still opportunities in the automobile industry.

Manufacturing remains a major source of employment for much of the Sheffield city region, making up 17% of all employment, compared to 13% nationally. Diversification has taken place in recent years, with increases in high value engineering, casting and forging companies.

Marine: Marine engineering is concentrated in this region in the Humber ports area. Within the City of Hull a cluster of more than 300 businesses is involved in freight, port operations, haulage, shipping, warehousing, marine engineering, logistics and ship supply. Team Humber Marine Alliance is a partnership of companies involved in marine engineering and ship building and repair activities. Hull Tec is an engineering training centre, delivering apprenticeships for the industry.

Mining: the re-opening of Hatfield Main colliery includes opportunities for geo-technical engineers. Open cast mining in the region also provides opportunities. Disused mining environments such as the Selby coalfield can also require mining engineer expertise especially in environmental improvement programmes and cleaning of contaminated land.

Telecommunications: openings are being created for electronic and mechanical engineers through the development of the next generation of mobile phones and the additional equipment that these will require. See the Telecommunications and Electronics and Electrical Engineering section for further details.

Transport: continual upgrading of the UK's rail infrastructure and road networks also means more opportunities for civil, mechanical and electrical engineers. See the Transport and Logistics section for regional information.

Employment opportunities look good for engineering graduates with high demand coupled with an expected skills shortage due to the retirement of skilled employees. Around 29,000 new employees are likely to be required in Yorkshire with many positions at a graduate level.

The annual recruitment into the Yorkshire sector is slightly above the UK level and a study of South Yorkshire's advanced manufacturing and metals industries showed improved performance on employment growth and innovation by those companies recruiting graduates.

Graduate entering engineering are likely to require a specific relevant degree and work experience or work shadowing in a related profession could make you a more attractive candidate for future employers.

Many degree courses in this area offer a placement year or practical element to the subject but if not, your careers service is likely to be able to point you in the direction of local companies who take on students for summer placements or participate in work experience schemes.

Make sure your CV's ahead of the crowd by participating in engineering related student societies. Many universities participate in local projects as well as national schemes for engineering students such as the Formula Student scheme whose participants include Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds University and Huddersfield University. Ask your Student Union for societies going on at your University that might interest you.

Job vacancies in Engineering

Useful links:


The Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies which works to raise skills across the 75,000 businesses and 2 million employees in the eight industry sectors which they represent.

Engineering Council UK (ECUK)

Regulates the engineering profession in the UK.

Engineering & Technology Board

Acts as the voice for the Science, Engineering and Technology sector.

Engineering Employers Federation

Industry body for engineering and manufacturing employers. Includes the latest industry report, Engineering UK.

Association of Consulting Engineers (ACE)

Represents the business interests of the consultancy and engineering industry in the UK.

The Women's Engineering Society

Promotes the education, training and practice of engineering among women.

The Engineer

Online version of ‘The Engineer' publication.

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST)

The Professional Body for people working in the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology sector.

Hull Maritime Alliance

The Hull Maritime Alliance is a network of companies involved in the maritime industry. 

Team Humber Marine Alliance (THMA)

THMA is a private/public sector partnership made up of key Humber based private sector companies involved in ship building/ship repair and associated marine and engineering activities. THMA has a membership of over 40 companies, with a combined turnover of £140m employing in the region of 1600 people.

Hull Tec

Hull Tec is Hull City Council's engineering training centre which delivers apprenticeships in engineering: fabrication and welding and mechanical and marine engineering. They train approximately 130 apprentices per year, a number of which are recruited by THMA members as well as general engineering companies within the region.

UK Coal

Operated both deep and surface mines in the region but also develops renewable energy.

South Yorkshire Mining Advisory Service (SYMAS)

Specialist advice from Mining Engineers and Mineral Surveyors on the mining and minerals industry past and present in South Yorkshire.