Engineering Engineering

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers provide efficient solutions to the development of processes and products, ranging from small component designs to extremely large plant, machinery or vehicles.


They can work on all stages of a product, from research and development to design and manufacture, through to installation and final commissioning.

Most industries rely on a form of mechanical systems and mechanical engineering is thought to be one of the most diverse of all engineering disciplines. Due to this, there are employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, including:

  • manufacturing;
  • power;
  • construction;
  • medical.

Mechanical engineers can be involved in the management of people and resources, as well as the development and use of new materials and technologies.

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What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?

Projects that mechanical engineers work on can vary significantly, from researching and developing medical products (such as mechanical hearts), to improving production processes in large oil refineries or designing services within buildings.

Across all sectors, tasks generally include:

Key Responsibilities

designing and implementing cost-effective equipment modifications to help improve safety and reliability
developing a project specification with colleagues, often including those from other engineering disciplines
developing, testing and evaluating theoretical designs
discussing and solving complex problems with manufacturing departments, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers
making sure a product can be made reliably and will perform consistently in specified operating environments
managing projects using engineering principles and techniques
planning and designing new production processes
producing details of specifications and outline designs
recommending modifications following prototype test results
using research, analytical, conceptual and planning skills, particularly mathematical modelling and computer-aided design
considering the implications of issues such as cost, safety and time constraints
working with other professionals, within and outside the engineering sector
monitoring and commissioning plant and systems

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Entry Requirements

A foundation degree, HNC/HND or degree in an engineering subject
For a degree course you will need at least five GCSEs (grades A-C) and two or three A levels, often including maths and physics

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

a high level of technical and scientific knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to practical problems
good analytical and problem-solving skills
strong mathematical ability
computer literacy
precise and concise written communication skills
creative ability
excellent spoken communication skills and confidence in dealing with a wide range of people, including clients, contractors, designers, directors and plant operators
the ability to work under pressure
teamwork skills
attention to detail
the ability to liaise well with professionals from other disciplines
an interest in the design and structure of buildings

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

The following figures are intended as a guideline only.

Salary & Progression

Graduate engineers: £20,000 - £28,000
Experienced mechanical engineers: £25,000 - £35,000
Mid level mechanical engineers: £35,000 - £50,000
Senior mechanical engineers: £45,000 - £60,000+
Case Study


mechanical engineering

What did you think about this experience?

"During my placement at Network Rail I gained a lot of insight into the construction industry, particularly the railway industry.  The site visits to stations were really good as I could see the development of the track and platforms needed for the Crossrail trains.  In addition, I was able to speak to a range of people working on different aspects of the project, from civil, mechanical and signalling engineers to telecoms people and project managers.  I really enjoyed the placement and it was great to see how different engineering disciplines work together."

How do you think this experience influenced in your decisions for your future career?

"This experience has confirmed my decision to study engineering at university and I have been able to look at which engineering discipline I would like to follow.  From this placement I have developed a strong interest in mechanical engineering and gaining work experience in this type of engineering is what I hope to do next."

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