The £420.5billion industry is more varied, exciting and innovative than ever before. Explore the different directions your career could take
Engineering is one of the country's broadest sectors - it generates 23% of UK turnover, employs 5.6 million people and produces most of the UK's exports. The majority of services and products in the world around us are brought to life through engineering. Engineers play a crucial part in:
- the success of major infrastructure projects
- developments in nanomedicine
- ensuring the safety and efficiency of all forms of transport
- the availability of fast broadband
- developing sustainable solutions for future food, waters and energy needs
- protecting individuals and organisations from cyber-attacks.
Engineers are shaping our future, making a real difference to how we live our lives. If you have your sights set on working at the forefront of global development, discover some of the exciting areas you could be working in as an engineer.
When disaster strikes, engineers find and rescue people using equipment such as telescopic lenses, drones and radar devices that detect victims' heartbeats and even cockroaches fitted with microphones, which can detect sounds coming from underneath rubble.
They provide immediate shelter and transport networks and get emergency water and sanitation services working to prevent the outbreak of disease. Often critical for providing humanitarian relief, engineers are responsible for getting electricity and communications up and running again and help people rebuild their lives with medical innovations.
The design, development and improvement of warning and detection systems also helps reduce the impact of future disasters.
Additive manufacturing, as it formally known, has become an important technology in high value manufacturing. The UK has played a leading role in the development and commercial application of 3D printing, an area which is growing.
Additive manufacturing, which to date has been primarily a model making and rapid prototyping tool, is now used to create real parts. A 'printed' titanium bracket is currently in place on the Airbus A350 XWB.
Engineers are discovering the potential of the body's nervous system to treat diseases as diverse as asthma and high blood pressure. Bioelectronic medicine involves developing small, implanted devices that attach to peripheral nerves, to modify electrical signals from the brain to the body's organs.
In the future these devices could be used to treat a range of chronic diseases, with greater precision and fewer side effects than conventional medicine.
While driverless cars are making the headlines, the autonomous ship could be set to revolutionise parts of the maritime industry as engineers examine the feasibility of remote controlled vessels. These would see engineers develop sensors and object detectors that give crews based on-shore an understanding of both the internal and external environment of the ship. Sensor fusion will combine outputs from a range of sensors, allowing it to offer enough data for crew to interpret and understand, while control algorithms will interpret the sensor data for functions including avoiding a collision.
Low carbon economy
Power, water processing, energy efficiency products and low carbon vehicles are all growing industries that rely on engineers. Engineers are at the forefront of finding solutions to global energy challenges, including working on renewable energies such as wind, tidal and solar energy. Engineers also work to reduce the carbon footprint of transport, manufacturing and many aspects of everyday life, including in coffee shops and supermarkets.
Find out more
- Visit Tomorrow's Engineers to find out more about getting into the industry.
- Discover the biggest challenges facing the engineering sector.
- Search postgraduate courses in engineering.