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The engineering sector in the UK employes over eight million people, making us the seventh largest manufacturing nation in the world. Areas of engineering include transport and logistics, energy and utilities, and construction, with the majority of jobs available in aerospace, automotive and oil and gas sectors.

With the UK moving out of recession the engineering and manufacturing sectors are picking up. Welsh Government is backing initiatives to encourage young people to work in these sectors as we expect future growth.

  • The Science, Technology and Engineering sectors contribute around 10% GDP and one third of the UK’s total exports (Sector Skills Council for Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology SEMTA 2008).
  • The Government doubled the science budget in real terms to £3.4 billion in 2007/08 (DIUS 2008).
  • Increasing the supply of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) skills is vital in a global climate increasingly dependent on innovation and high value products and services (DIUS 2008).
  • Metals and engineered metal products employs approximately 450,000 employees. The sector adds £15 billion of extra value to the UK economy – equivalent to 10% of all UK manufacturing (SEMTA website 2008).

Careers in the engineering sector

There are a range of different jobs available in this sector - industries you could work in include food and drink, automotive and aerospace, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and marine engineering. Welsh Government recognises the importance of the sector and is committed to supporting Wales' low carbon economy while driving forward skills in engineering.

Courses are available through colleges and other providers, with apprenticeships also offered in the following areas:

  • Aeronautical Engineering (Avionic)
  • Aeronautical Engineering (Mech)
  • Autobody Repair
  • Automobile Technology
  • Construction Metal Work
  • Industrial Electronics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Welding
Further advice and training is also pffered by organisations such as SEMTA, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering Council.

Working in this sector can lead to being a part of a team of professionals creating something lasting and helping to shape the environment for future generations.

For further information on careers in the engineering sector, and to search for current apprenticeship or Jobs Growth Wales opportunities, visit Careers Wales.

"Our country has produced some of the world’s greatest technological triumphs. From early manufacturing techniques developed during the industrial revolution to the first tentative clicks of the World- Wide-Web, Britain has led the way in research, in science and in engineering."
- Engineering UK, 2011

Competing in the sector

Competitors face a series of practical challenges that test their skills at regional heats throughout Wales. The highest scorers are put forward to compete in the Welsh national final, with successful competitors going through to the UK national competition held at the NEC in Birmingham.

Among 2012's winners was Cardiff And Vale College Apprentice Mathew Bailey, who won first place in the Vehicle Body Repair final. Angelos Amoruso, of Gower College Swansea, won the individual gold medal for industrial electronics in the 2013 Wales final.

Competing in the engineering sector competitions benefits students, learning providers and employers. Students are given a common, worthwhile goal that takes them beyond the normal expectation of education and training programmes, as well as being able to experience the excitement of competing. For the trainer or tutor there’s professional pride and evidence of continuing professional development, and employers benefit through maintaining a highly skilled workforce who take pride in the job and the company.

"The competition was a great chance to learn new skills and test myself against others and see how I’m getting on, and I’m really happy to have won. This is the first trophy I’ve ever been awarded; I definitely plan to enter more competitions and I'm aiming to represent the UK at a future WorldSkills competition."
- Matthew Bailey, World Skills Wales winner, 2012

Autobody repair competition
Coleg Gwent, 2013

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Skills competitions test who has the ability to be a champion. And for those who’ve got what it takes, career stardom awaits..