- Different areas of engineering, energy and infrastructure
- Typical roles in engineering, energy and infrastructure
- Skills and qualifications
- Key employers
- The application process
- Engineering, energy and infrastructure sector graduate jobs and schemes
- More information
Do you have a technical mind? Do you enjoy seeing a project from the research stage through to the end with a tangible object as an outcome? If you want to mastermind how things are built, a career in the engineering, energy and infrastructure sector could be perfect for you.
The jobs you find in the engineering, energy and infrastructure sector have a wide range of applications and purposes but all have the central intention of maintaining, designing and generating new structures, whether the buildings that we live, work and meet in or the transportation of people, goods or energy. Here are the main areas of the engineering, energy and infrastructure sector:
When working in energy, your job is providing the public with the power that heats their homes, cooks their food and turns on their lights. You could work with renewable energy including hydroelectric, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar power. Alternatively, you could work with nonrenewable energy sources like natural gas, coal, oil and nuclear energy.
Your job may be designing the systems which generate the energy, making sure to keep to safety regulations, working out new ways of bringing the energy to consumers or even coming up with new ways of making energy. This is particularly relevant with the shift towards renewable sources of energy over fossil fuels.
In engineering, you design and build new structures and systems. Engineering is relevant to many areas of work and your work could be anything from creating new forms of transport or transport links to designing new machines to help treat medical conditions in biomedical engineering to building planes and rockets in aerospace engineering.
Engineering involves designing new systems, testing them to make sure they work efficiently and are safe and also improving systems that are already in place. A common factor in the engineering sector is having a high level of technical understanding in the particular field that you’re working in from chemistry to bridge construction.
If you’re interested in engineering, take an in-depth look at the different types of engineering.
When working in architecture, your job focuses on buildings and other structures. Your work includes making sure the buildings are safe and comply with safety requirements. You may design new buildings or plan improvements to existing structures. You could have a particular specialism in architecture. For example, you may work with older buildings, making sure that new additions to them or changes that the owners want to make don’t cause any damage or violate regulations, for example if a building is listed.
Property and construction
Where architecture focuses on the design of structures, property and construction does the actual building of these designs. This field extends from the building work to selling the finished item. You work with all different types of building in the property and construction field. You could specialise in housing from family homes to mansions to flats, commercial buildings from retail stores to office blocks, production buildings from factories to warehouses and public sector buildings from hospitals to schools. This could be either selling or building the structures.
Each area of the engineering, energy and infrastructure sector has multiple jobs that are available to you. Here are the main career paths in each area:
- Energy engineer. In this role, you use your engineering background to design new sources of energy or new sites to produce the energy. You could specialise in either renewable or non-renewable sources of energy.
- Environmental advisor. When working as an environmental advisor in the energy industry, you provide valuable insights into the impact of the work on the environment both locally and globally. You advise on whether the work complies with environmental regulations and any adjustments that should be made.
- Geologist. As a geologist in the energy sector, your job typically involves locating new sources of natural gas and oil for energy companies to extract. Geology extends beyond non-renewable energy sources and there is a growing requirement for geologists working in geothermal energy sources.
Find out more about the types of roles available in energy and infrastructure.
- Mechanical engineer. As a mechanical engineer, you design and build the mechanical parts of any system. You could specialise in car engines, tools, industrial equipment as well as many other areas. This job often involves a research element where you make sure your designs are functional and efficient in a testing phase prior to releasing the project or design.
- Electrical engineer. Electrical engineers design the electrical systems which are put into place in all areas that require power from all ranges of buildings to transport systems. This includes designing the electrical systems in the appliances that we use on a daily basis.
- Civil engineer. When working as a civil engineer, you design the infrastructure that the public use on a daily basis from road systems to water supplies.
Find out what engineering is and the skills and attributes you need to get into engineering.
Property, construction and architecture
- Architect. Architects design all different kinds of buildings from university campuses to warehouses. Some architects specialise in residential buildings and a large part of this area is designing extensions and improvements to existing buildings.
- Contractor. Contractors plan all parts of the building process of all structures. In this role, you make sure all necessary documentation has been approved like planning permission, oversee the building process making sure it’s in budget and working within the timeline and making sure the site is safe for all staff working on it.
- Estate agent. Estate agents take on new and existing properties and find buyers to take on the property. In this role, you visit properties with clients, providing them with useful information about the site and surrounding area. You act as a middleman between the existing owner and the new buyer.
Working in the engineering, energy and infrastructure industry could see you in a highly specialised area. Having a highly specialised knowledge of the area you work in is important for your job in the industry. Here are the skills and qualifications that you need to work in engineering, energy and infrastructure:
Energy and engineering skills
- Teamwork. Lots of the work that you do in engineering is on very large systems and networks. Doing the work alone would take a significant amount of time so it is typically split up between a team. Having great teamwork skills helps you collaborate with your colleagues and make a system that is effective and works as a whole.
- Critical thinking. You may come across issues with a project, for example the existing layout not being ideal for the work you’re doing. Being able to think critically helps you deal with the problems you come across and come up with creative solutions to your problems.
- Maths. Most work in engineering requires a high level of mathematical knowledge. Along with this, you need precision and attention to detail so you can make sure your designs work for the requirements without having any faults.
Energy, engineering and architecture qualifications
Many of these jobs require high-level qualifications. Depending on the type of engineer you are, many people have an undergraduate degree which gives you the required skills for the job. More specialised jobs in the engineering industry require a master’s degree. Like engineers, architects need a high level of education and have an undergraduate degree. To legally call yourself an architect in the UK, you must register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The purpose of the ARB is to make sure that standards of architecture are kept. The ARB website has an easy search tool which anyone can use to find out if an architect is fully registered. This is to protect the public from people claiming to be architects without the necessary qualifications and expertise.
Property, construction and architecture skills
- Budget management. When working in this sector, many jobs require an ability to either manage or estimate a budget. Architects often have to indicate the cost of construction whilst contractors manage the budgets they’re given and try not to spend beyond the budget limit.
- Attention to detail. Having good attention to detail is important for most jobs in property, construction and architecture. Architects must make sure their designs have enough detail that the contractors can work with and make the best building possible. Contractors must make sure the work they’re doing is of high quality and fits regulatory standards.
Property and construction qualifications
Jobs in property and construction often require fewer qualifications than others in the sector. If you want to be an estate agent, you could get a degree in business studies, estate management or property management. However, you could equally do a diploma in any of these subjects or go into it without a degree at all.
Construction jobs like contractors and builders typically don’t require degrees. You can complete a relevant diploma, an apprenticeship or internship to enter the career path.
Since the sector is so diverse, the range of salaries available to you is too.
Energy, engineering and architecture
- Energy engineer. An energy engineer’s salary depends on the level of employment and experience. Your salary could begin at £27,000 and extend to £55,000 per year as you progress in seniority.
- Civil engineer. Similar to energy engineers, the range of salaries is between £27,000 and £50,000 per year depending on seniority.
- Architect. The range of salaries available to you as an architect extends from £30,000 to £70,000 per year. This depends on your seniority and the type of architectural work you’re doing.
Property and construction
- Contractor. As a contractor, your salary could vary from £20,000 per year in a starting position to £60,000 per year in a senior role for large or complex projects.
- Estate agent. When working as an estate agent, your salary could be between £18,000 and £40,000 per year depending on seniority, the type of property you’re selling and the geographical location with estate agents in the south eastern area of the country earning more due to higher property prices.
Learn about the top firms in the infrastructure sector.
CV and cover letter
Engineering, energy and infrastructure sector jobs are highly competitive so giving yourself the best chance with a great application puts you in good standing to get the job. Your application begins with a CV. This CV should include all the relevant work that you’ve done and your education history. If relevant, you can mention the course titles that you completed from your qualifications to give the hiring manager a greater understanding of your expertise. If you completed relevant assignments, you can mention them here too.
When mentioning previous work in your CV, you should include your achievements from the job. Your CV should be tailored to the job you’re applying for so you should make your achievements relevant to that job. If you need a bit of help getting started with your CV, learn how to write a CV with this great guide.
Your cover letter should be tailored to the job too and here is why you should tailor every cover letter you write. This is your chance to sell your skills and expertise to the recruiter. You should use the information from the job description. If they want someone with researching skills, show them you have that! You can learn how to write a cover letter to impress prospective employers with this useful guide.
If your CV and cover letter interest your employer, they invite you to have an interview. In order to have a great interview, you should really understand the job. But don’t worry, if there are parts of the job description that you don’t understand, then just ask them! In fact, preparing questions to ask in the interview makes you look well prepared and interested in the job. You might want to prepare yourself for the types of questions that hiring managers ask in interviews. If you’re looking for interview tips, you can use this Bright Network interview advice to prepare. You can also take this Bright Network Academy module on how to ace an interview.
If you’re applying for jobs in architecture, your application often includes showing off your portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of your work and your ideas show a prospective employer your style and potential. Whilst you typically submit your portfolio with your initial application, you also talk through your portfolio in the interview, discussing your reasoning behind your designs and what you want to achieve in future work.
Want to work in energy and infrastructure? Read this guide to energy and infrastructure graduate schemes.
Ready to delve into the world of engineering, energy and infrastructure? Browse available graduate opportunities in these innovative sectors and take their first step towards your career.
Does a career in the engineering, energy and infrastructure sector sound perfect for you? Follow this Bright Network energy sector 101 course from Shell to learn all you need to know about beginning your career in this sector.
Are you interested in working in energy but worry about the impact of non-renewable power on the environment? Learn about the roles in renewable energy.