Training and career development in engineering
A career in engineering offers valuable long-term job prospects along with professional qualifications.
The long-term opportunities provided by an engineering career are excellent. It’s not uncommon for graduates to find themselves in managerial roles in their first decade after qualifying, and those who possess initiative and strong communication, teamwork and project-management skills will be rewarded with promotions. A willingness to continue your education and professional development is important.
No matter the specific field of your degree, you can expect flexibility in your career. An engineer’s core skill is problem-solving, which enables you to move between engineering sectors. Acquiring managerial experience will equip you with the transferable skills required to pursue a career away from engineering if you so desire.
Achieving accredited chartered engineer status (CEng) should be your aim as a graduate engineer, as this will give you a recognised and valued level of competencies, skills and standards. Possessing a chartered engineer status increases your employability and gives you professional recognition.
Graduates seeking to develop their careers should seek out employers that run graduate programmes accredited with either Engineers Ireland or the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Such graded graduate programmes allow graduates to achieve chartered engineer status within a few years of qualifying. In the Republic of Ireland there are three basic requirements for chartered status: graduates must hold a masters degree; have a four year working/training period (Initial Professional Development); and must submit practice reports and written essays. Along with fulfilling the requirements of your employer-run graduate programme, you will be required to take various training courses covering the following topics: financial awareness, legislation, IT skills, managerial leadership and personal development/communication skills. Visit engineersireland.com for more information and also gradireland.com/engineering.
The criteria are very similar in Northern Ireland. The ideal scenario would see you employed by an accredited employer with an Initial Professional Development Scheme that will allow you to attain the skills and competencies required by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. At least two years work must be completed, and in consultation with your line manager you will need to produce a development action plan. You will need to keep records of your competencies and learning. When you feel capable, you can consult with your mentor, sponsor and management with regards to applying to register as a chartered engineer. A qualifying report on professional development (QRPD) must be prepared, and you will be required to take part in an hour-long professional review interview.