Under and Post Graduate
Use this section to understand what you should consider during your degree course and the options available after gaining your qualification.
As undergraduates you are now nearing the completion of your formal education and for many this can be the most enjoyable time as you study in depth subjects that you find interesting.
Undertaking such qualifications has one major difference from your previous education. You will need to be self motivated and manage your effort and time yourself. There will probably be no tutors pestering you to meet deadlines for assignments. It's very much down to you.
Whilst your lecture time over a given academic year may be less than during your sixth form years, you will need to work on your own to expand the material covered in lectures and/or work your way through assignments. In the main, you will spend more time applying yourself to your course than you have ever done in the past.
Time management is therefore very important and you need to keep abreast of your commitments and deadlines. This is a very useful skill to master as once you're in an engineering company this will become second nature.
If you're on a sandwich course, don't be surprised if you have to do some research and seek out your own placements with engineering companies. Try to go for the area you would ultimately like to work in or start your career with. Try not to be limited by where they are: It can be expensive to go to a more distant location or even country but it could open up opportunities in the future and when you look back you will see that the cost was small for such a huge gain.
By the time you hit Christmas in your final year you need to have started applying for vacancies and/or graduate schemes which some companies offer. Graduate schemes tend to vary considerably but can be as long as two years as you work your way around the different departments of a company. They tend to be offered by the larger engineering companies and offer the means to experience the many different aspects of engineering in one company so are generally very good. In smaller companies you tend to experience most of the same aspects as you work in your first appointed position.
Some universities have very good links with engineering companies so both work placements (sandwich courses) and employment opportunities tend to be easier. It's down to you to seek, apply and secure both.
Many universities have times when companies are onsite either individually or collectively (Careers Fair) to help undergraduates collect information, attend interviews and make decisions about their careers. Attend them and seek out information at the very least but also see them as an opportunity to show companies what you are like and what you are hoping for in your career. Most importantly, you can let them see what you have to offer their company.
Please use the contact details here for the Engineering and Manufacturing Sector Skills Champion who may be able to help with island based placements if you're on a sandwich course, or help with employment opportunities.
On completing your degree, some may wish to further their knowledge by undertaking a Masters or Doctorate degree. Carefully consider this as you are probably going to become even more specialised and so your employability options may well become more restricted but hopefully more in tune with what your career aspirations are.
"Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration."
Thomas Edison (American inventor and businessman who developed numerous devices which significantly enhanced many lives, including the phonograph, motion picture camera and practical electrical light bulb)