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Aerospace and Defence
Electrical and Electronic

Aerospace and Defence

Engineering in this job area is about developing, designing, making and maintaining aircraft or aircraft engine parts. Aerospace engineers may work on civilian or military aircraft, or could be involved with missiles, satellites or space vehicles.

  • Aerospace engineers research, design and manufacture aircraft, satellites, missiles and space vehicles. They may be specialist mechanical, electrical or electronics engineers and they might specialise in airframes, hydraulics, engines or materials and structures.
  • Aerospace engineering technicians work on the design, manufacture and operation of aircraft, missiles, satellites and space vehicles. Some may work as specialist engineering technicians - building and maintaining aircraft systems and components such as the fuselage, wings, engines, landing gear, brakes, flying controls and environmental systems. Others may be electrical or electronics technicians - installing and testing electrical and electronic systems used in navigation, communications and flight control.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is about using engineering skills to assist the production and control of the plant and machinery used in the manufacture of chemicals, cosmetics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food and drink and petroleum products. They also have a role to play in energy production and may work as environmental engineers developing, for example alternative energy sources or new waste disposal and recycling methods.

  • Chemical engineers are involved in designing processes and production methods to transform raw materials into a wide range of products. Oil, for example, can be used to make fuels, plastics, textiles and cosmetics.
  • Biochemical engineers are specialist chemical engineers who design processes involving biological changes for example in pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and the treatment of waste.
  • Chemical engineering technicians support the work of chemical engineers. They can work in a range of engineering areas such as research and development, design, construction, operations and maintenance.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Electrical and electronic engineering research, design and develop new electrical or electronic products or innovations to deliver power supplies.

  • Electrical engineers are involved in the research, development and operation of electrical machinery and equipment. Many industries rely heavily on electrical engineers and technicians, including the manufacturing industry and the transport industry (railways, ships, aircraft and road vehicles). Electrical engineers are also vital in the development of communications, radar and instrumentation systems.
  • Electrical engineering technicians build, operate and maintain electrical equipment, such as generators and transformers and motors that produce and distribute electricity to homes, offices, factories, schools and hospitals. They also support the work of electrical engineers.
  • Electronics engineers and technicians may work on the development, installation and maintenance of equipment for a wide range of sectors including hospitals, manufacturing, transportation systems, IT, robotics and the aerospace industry.  Electronic systems are also used in fields of science, such as biology, physics and acoustics. Electronics engineers and technicians usually work as part of a team that may include engineers and technicians from different engineering disciplines.

Materials Engineering

Materials such as metals and alloys, ceramics, glass, plastics, rubber, semiconductors, biomedical materials and combinations of materials called composites are combined or modified in different ways to be used for products, such as cars, aircraft, buildings, bridges, silicon chips, sports equipment and even replacement body parts for humans.

  • Materials engineers and technicians specialise in understanding the structure, properties and processing of a wide range of materials. Materials scientists explore why each material behaves the way it does, and materials engineers and technicians exploit these properties to make a material better, cheaper or more useful. Engineers and technicians usually work as part of a team of scientists, engineers and technicians from different disciplines.

It is also possible to specialise in a specific material such as polymers or metals and job titles for specialisms include polymer technologist and metallurgist.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a very broad area of engineering as it is about designing, constructing, maintaining and operating just about anything that has a moveable part, for example, producing machines for use in the manufacturing sector.

Mechanical engineers and technicians work in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, aerospace, energy, renewable energy and climate change, railways, automotive industry, medical and sports technology.

  • Mechanical engineers and technicians may be involved in designing, finding solutions to technical problems, using new technologies when they become available and planning and designing new production processes.
  • Mechanical engineers and technicians need to be able to work alongside electrical, civil and construction engineers and technicians as well as those in the nuclear and medical fields.

Medical Engineering

Medical engineering is about using engineering skills to develop new products and materials for medical diagnostic and rehabilitation purposes. Nanotechnology is impacting on this area; in particular, with for example, more precisely targeted drug delivery and the miniaturisation of medical diagnostic tools.

  • Clinical engineers design, develop and maintain the instruments and equipment such as heart rate monitors, scanners and x-ray machines that medical specialists use to carry out complex medical procedures and diagnose medical conditions. They also use engineering to help improve the treatment of disease, and  the rehabilitation of patients.
  • They may work for medical equipment manufacturers, which make a variety of high- technology products and systems, or in hospitals, where they may work  in full-time laboratory research or in service delivery and development. Clinical engineers work closely with patients, with other professional staff such as technicians and clinicians, and with equipment manufacturers.

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The information in this jobs section is a summary of what's involved in each of the jobs and only a few jobs are highlighted to give a snapshot of this sector.

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