University & Degrees

9 ingenious ways to get engineering work experience

4 mins
May 18, 2022
Engineering is a stimulating and varied field, and it’s always moving forward, so the best way to make sure you can keep up is to get some work experience, i.e. focus on the practical rather than the theoretical! In this article we’re listing 9 ways you can get involved, we’ve even got a template you can use to reach out to future employers!

1. Apply for Springpod’s Engineering Virtual Work Experience programme

It would be remiss of us not to mention the EASIEST way to start adding experience to your CV/personal statement - taking part in a virtual programme! Springpod offers a two-week Engineering Virtual Work Experience programme that takes place at multiple points during the year. We’ve also partnered with a whole load of engineering companies to create programmes that teach you more about particular industries, like the Airbus programme where you can learn what engineering looks like in the aviation industry. During each programme, you’ll take part in industry activities and quizzes, and get to question the experts in live webinars.

2.  Speak to your Careers Advisor

This obvious option is often overlooked but it’s a great place to start and doesn’t require much effort! Start looking for opportunities within your own network, this includes other students, teachers and careers advisors. A good Careers Adviser is always on the lookout for job opportunities (it’s literally their job!) that are beneficial for their students and this includes work experience. 

3. Speak to your local council

Councils are in charge of a whole load of engineering work in your local area, from road maintenance to neighbourhood planning, so why not write to them and see if they could offer any work experience. You might have to wait a while to hear back but stating your passion for engineering and helping the local community could help you cinch the deal! 

4. Speak to an engineer

You can gain a huge amount from simply speaking to an engineer as they might be able to offer weekly coaching, answer any questions you have or give you some career path tips. Questioning an engineer (or someone in the industry) can give you a well-rounded view of what the profession looks like and what you can do to make your application stand out. They might even know someone that could offer you work experience, it's worth checking!

Make sure you get the best out of your conversation, be sure to make a list of the questions you want answered and take some time to reflect on what you’ve learnt afterwards!

5. Use LinkedIn

We’ve already spoken about reaching out to engineering professionals you might know, but what do you do if you don’t know any? Try using LinkedIn to reach out to engineers and join groups so you can be up to date with the latest industry news. These industry groups are usually pretty good at posting thought-leadership articles about new developments within the field; taking the time to read one of these a week will help improve your practical knowledge of the sector, which you can then evidence on your CV/personal statement or in a job interview. It’s a win-win!

You can also use LinkedIn to look at an inspiring individual’s career history. At the very least it could give you some assurance of where to start your career, and at most, it could contain some internships or assistant positions they did when they were getting started, which have spots open for applications!

6. Join a talent pool

A talent pool is a list of engaged people who have the desire to work at a particular company in the future; these candidates might have showcased their engagement by responding to a job posting or signing up for a mailing list for future job opportunities. Atkins has a thriving pool of interested candidates who they regularly update with the latest news, events and job opportunities, so sign up today to be in the know.

7. Conduct your own research

If you don’t know by now, there are loads of different types of engineers and paths within engineering, it’s not all structures and plans, sometimes it’s systems and processes. So make sure you’ve done your research and are looking for opportunities in a field that really suits you. We wrote an ‘All you need to know about engineering’ article to help you realise what type of engineer you want to be and to help focus your work experience search. In the article we’ve listed sectors that suit each type of engineer, for example, if you’re interested in electrical engineering you might want to look for experience at a mobile networking company.

8. Check out the Royal Academy of Engineers

The Royal Academy of Engineers provides progressive leadership for the engineering and technology sector, and independent expert advice to the government in the UK and beyond. Their aim is to grow talent by training, supporting, mentoring and funding the most talented and creative researchers, innovators and leaders from across the engineering profession. So get involved!

9. Try to secure a summer internship

You might be thinking ‘well obviously! If I had a summer internship I wouldn’t be reading this article!’ - we hear you. Securing an internship can be hard work and we’re not claiming to have all the answers, but we do have something that could help! We’ve put together a template that you can use to send to your favourite engineering companies. Take some time to personalise it with your experience (or passion!) and then start sending it out.

If you don’t get an immediate response, don’t stop! Keep going! Persistence is key, so is clear communication and a ton of enthusiasm! 

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