Explore Your Career Options
What kind of jobs can I do?
What kind of jobs can I do?
The Institute of Mechanical Engineers and The Royal Aeronautical Society have extensive career information for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students.
- Destinations of Queen's graduates
Destinations of QUB graduates
A survey of graduates 6 months after graduation reveals that QUB graduates from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have recently gone into the following roles…
Mechanical Engineering (Jobs): Energy Trader, Mechanical Engineer, Attribute Engineer, Design Engineer, Mechanical Maintenance Engineer, Technical Services Officer, Logistics Engineer, Technical Engineer, Graduate Technical Engineer, Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, Data Analytics Consultant, Process Engineer, Camera Assistant, Production Engineer, Sales Executive, Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Assurance Engineer, Control and Simulations Engineer, Technical Sales Engineer, Maintenance Engineer, Graduate Design Technician, Support Engineer, Product Design Engineer, Associate, Buyer, Graduate Manufacturing Engineer, Air Engineering Officer, Self-employer Maths Tutor, Graduate Project Engineer, Manufacturing Systems Coordinator, Consultant, Callibration Engineer, Graphic Designer, Mechanical CAM Engineer.
Mechanical Engineering (Further Study includes): PhD Mechanical Engineering, MA Automotive Design, MSc Mechanical Engineering with Management, PhD Electrical Physics, MSc Quantitative Finance, MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering, MSc Mechanical Engineering.
Aerospace Engineering (Jobs): Graduate Systems Engineer, Field Services Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Project Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Commercial Buyer, Trainee Air Traffic Controller, Vice President for Student Activities, Aerospace Engineer, Graduate Engineer, Trainee Consultant, Mechanical Design Engineer.
Aerospace Engineering (Further Study): PhD Aerospace Engineering, Commercial Pilot's Course, PhD Mechanical Engineering, MMgt Management, MSc Leadership and Sustainable Development, MSc Materials Science, MSc Computational Fluid Dynamics, MSc Aerospace Computational Engineering.
Product Design (Further Study): MA Product Design Prototyping, Certificate in Business for Agri Food and Rural Enterprise, PhD Mechanical Engineering,
As with all programmes at all universities, some graduates have not gone into graduate level work. Recent roles have included: Lifeguard, Builder and Customer Assistant.
There can be many reasons to explain this including saving for further study, getting relevant work experience, wanting to take some time-out, but often it is due to a lack of career planning prior to graduating. Reviewing these careers resources and taking advantage of opportunities to develop your career will help to ensure that you fulfil your career potential. If you wish to book an appointment to discuss your options and plan your career you can do this through myfuture.
- Engineering and Manufacturing
Engineering and Manufacturing
Careers Occupational Information Unit bulletin - Manufacturing | Department for the Economy (economy-ni.gov.uk)
Prospects: Engineering and Manufacturing will provide an overview of this thriving sector. Engineering graduates can choose to work within a vast range of fields including the automotive industry, aerospace, food and drink manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry and the energy sector to name a few. To understand how roles may vary by sector take a look at Target Jobs: What can you do with a Mechanical Engineering degree?
You may also choose to specialise in a specific area of engineering in roles such as Maintenance Engineer or Manufacturing Engineer.
As a student any engineering-related work experience you can acquire is really beneficial and most of the larger employers offer internship and placement opportunities. There is a large and diverse range of employers offering work experience and graduate opportunities to engineering students, popular employers are listed on Target Jobs UK 300 and you can review websites such as Gradcracker to become familiar with the employers who hire student engineers.
- Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace Engineers are predominantly involved in the design, development and maintenance of aircraft, but may also work with satellites and missiles. TargetJobs: Aerospace Engineering provides an overview of aerospace engineering and the Careers in Aerospace website provides a directory of employers working in the aerospace industry and an overview of the career areas/specialisms within the sector. The Royal Aeronautical Society also host a Jobs Board and information on ongoing professional development.
The UK is currently seeing a growth in career opportunities related to space. These mainly to be found in companies involved in small satelite launch and the monitoring of space weather. Those interested should follow news from the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency and UKSEDS (UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space).
Invest NI's "Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth" document provides an outline of the main companies in NI working in this area.
In the rest of the UK, the industry is mainly based around Oxfordshire, Scotland and Cornwall, so it can be helpful to be geographically mobile.
The Irish National Space Strategy is promising government investment to promote growth. Enterprise Ireland have a space industry directory of Irish companies operating in this area. The industry in Ireland is smaller and mainly based around Dublin.
Some placements and internships as well as graduate opportunities are available in this area. There is a list of useful websites on the page. It's also worth looking at the exhibitors at the UK annual Space Conference.
- Automotive Engineering
Automotive engineers design, develop and manufacture all types of vehicles. This is a popular career choice for engineers and there are many employers within this area of work offering placement and graduate opportunities. Top employers include Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes AMG, Nissan, and McLaren.
Product Design Engineering
Product Design Engineering
Prospects: Industrial/product designer provides an overview of this role. Opportunities exist with large employers, specialist design agencies or on a freelance basis once you have built up a portfolio of work and the Institution of Engineering Designers offer a jobs board.
- Energy Engineering
Energy engineering is a growth area as industry strives to find renewable and alternative energy sources. The Energy Institute provides a good overview of the industry and Prospects: Energy Engineer provides further career and sector information.
- Nuclear Engineering
Prospects: Nuclear Engineer provides a good overview of the role. The Nuclear Institute is a membership organisation and provides useful information about the sector and the Nuclear Graduates scheme usually runs every year and recruits graduates for a variety of employers.
- Petroleum Engineer
If you are interested in working overseas this may be the career area for you. My Oil and Gas Career includes a career section detailing different roles within the sector and information on relevant employers. The Society of Petroleum Engineers and Prospects: Petroleum Engineer both provide further industry and career information.
- Civil Service and Public Sector roles
Civil Service and Public Sector roles
The Civil Service Fast Stream is an accelerated training and development programme for graduates, placing them into a variety of departments within the Civil Service. There are various recruitment streams available including a Science and Engineering stream. Locally opportunities may exist with the Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland Training Scheme for engineers within their Graduate Engineering Training Scheme.
If you are interested in contributing to the body of knowledge about your subject, a career in research is worth considering. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council offer funding to students interested in further study. The Vitae website has a collection of career stories and information on what researchers have gone on to do. A postgraduate qualification (most often a PhD) is likely to be required. Jobs and some PhD studentships can be found on Jobs.ac.uk. More PhD opportunities can be found on findaphd.com.
In Schools: A recognised teaching qualification is essential to find work in this area. The Department of Education Northern Ireland has general details about Initial Teacher Education (which includes the PGCE). The Universities and Colleges offering the training also have information on their websites which include how to apply and the closing dates. Ulster University offer a PGCE in Technology and Design and you may be eligible for a place on the PGCE Maths or Science courses at Queen's depending on your grades at A Level but would be advised to contact the PGCE Admissions Team in advance of an application.
PGCE courses are competitive to get into so interested students are recommended to:
- Gain experience of working with young people of the age group you hope to teach – usually gained through voluntary work.
- Get an insight into what work as a teacher is like by trying to arrange to speak to a teacher to ask them about their job and try to get some classroom observation experience. You may also be able to arrange visits through personal contacts or with schools where you were taught. It may be possible to arrange with a local school via a speculative application.
- Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in Education via the Times Education Supplement and the Guardian’s Education section.
- Apply early.
- These interview tips are useful when preparing for the course interview.
The Teach First Leadership Development Programme recruits high achieving graduates to work as teachers in some of the most disadvantaged schools in England and Wales. Its 2 year programme combines this work with business skills training, internship and mentoring opportunities. At the end of the programme around 50% stay in the teaching profession in a leadership position, the other 50% are readily employed in a variety of business areas.
The JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme is an official and prestigious Japanese government scheme that sends graduates to Japan in order to promote international understanding at grass-roots level and to improve foreign language teaching in schools. Although participants teach English to school pupils, applicants for the programme can come from any degree discipline providing they hold a full UK passport. It is a tough application process that begins in the October preceding the departure the following summer.
In Colleges: Further Education Colleges will sometimes hire people to teach without formal teaching qualifications. These teachers will often be expected to work towards a teaching qualification and will be expected to have other relevant (sometimes vocational) qualifications and experience to offer. Colleges list job vacancies on their own websites. You can find a list of acceptable qualifications on the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland website.
In Higher Education: University lecturers will normally be expected to have or be working towards a PhD. An Academic Career provides more information about this career route. Jobs and some PhD studentships can be found on Jobs.ac.uk. More PhD opportunities can be found on findaphd.com.
- Accountancy, Banking, Finance and Management Consultancy
Accountancy, Banking, Finance and Management Consultancy
This broad sector covers a range of different roles including Accountant, Investment Banker, Retail Banker, Insurance Broker, Pensions Consultant and Financial Adviser. Prospects: Accountancy, Banking and Finance has role profiles with more details about each of these areas. A number of large professional services firms offer a range of graduate finance jobs with some offering roles in Management Consultancy. These firms are interested in a broad range of graduates and interested students are recommended to find opportunities to build their commercial awareness and business understanding.
There are lots of opportunities to gain relevant experience in these areas while you are a student:
- Some organisations (e.g. PwC) run 2 day Talent Academies for Level 1 students (application deadlines are often in Semester 1);
- There are lots of summer internship opportunities for Level 2 students (application deadlines are often in Semester 1);
- Graduate schemes in this area are usually open to graduates of any degree discipline.
Any additional opportunities to develop your business/commercial awareness such as Stock Market Challenge and Future-Ready Skills for Leaders would be beneficial.
Keep an eye on our Careers events page and follow us on social media @QUBCareers.
- General Graduate Options
General Graduate Options
Approximately 50% of graduate vacancies are open to graduates of any subject. Some may require some additional, specialist, post-graduate training but some do not. The list is extensive but includes fields as diverse as accountancy, general management, human resources and recruitment consultancy. You can find a list of websites which advertise these opportunities under Relevant job websites.