Engineering and manufacturing skills are vital to drive the current and future economy, with research suggesting that 1.82 million vacancies will be created in the next ten years for jobs that don't even exist yet!

While manufacturing involves the process of turning raw materials into products (such as food/drinks, medical supplies, electrical goods, vehicles, aircraft), engineers who work in manufacturing may find themselves in project planning roles or being responsible for the design, management and maintenance of production processes and methods.

The industry is working hard to attract a more diverse workforce; encouraging men and women from a wider range of backgrounds to choose a career in engineering and/or advanced manufacturing technology.

So if you are interested in this industry, have good technical knowledge and qualities such as problem-solving, communication, team work and the ability to think on your feet, please read on further to find out more!

Where do I start?

Within the engineering and manufacturing sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.

Job roles

Job roles in this sector include (but are not restricted to):

Finding opportunities

As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.

  • Insitution of Engineering and Technology – Professional engineering institution providing information on latest news and features from the IET knowledge network.
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers – IMechE is an independent society that represents mechanical engineers.
  • TARGETjobs – Provides information and advice for graduate engineers. Find out what industry sectors you can work in, how much you could earn and how to apply for jobs.
  • TARGETjobs – Also offers an online guide, providing comprehensive information on engineering sectors, employers, recruitment processes and postgraduate study.
  • The Engineer – An online resource for the engineering industry and provides the latest news and features, and details on new products and forthcoming events.
  • Industrial Technology – A site which provides events of interest and importance happening in the engineering and manufacturing world.
  • Mark Allen Group – Links to a range of online magazines in the engineering and manufacturing industry.
  • RaceChip – offers a resource specifically for Automotive Engineer students to help them learn more about the industry.
  • Space Crew - An online jobs board for finding jobs in engineering and manufacturing in the space sector. 

Getting experience

Competition for jobs in these sectors can be fierce and work experience could be the deciding factor in securing a graduate job. Undertaking work experience is invaluable to develop expertise and the all-important transferable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work.

However, finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through our website.

The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations.


As part of your degree programme you will have the opportunity to take part in a salaried placement year, either in the UK or overseas to gain proven industrial experience by the time you graduate. This will provide you with an invaluable insight into working life and offer a unique opportunity to apply the industry knowledge you are learning as part of your studies.

Placements will also enable you to gain transferable skills in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork and time management, in addition to finding out more about a specific job role or industry, which will lead to more informed decisions upon graduating.

Within the Faculty of Technology, our students are placed with a wide range of companies across a variety of sectors. Many organisations recruit students every year, and some arrange a period of overlap to ensure continuity of the work or projects that are carried out by placement students. To find out more about the range of different companies and roles students in your area have previously worked with, please find out more the Maths, Physics, Computing, Engineering and Surveying placements webpage

To find out more about sourcing and arranging your placement, we would encourage you to get in contact with your placement office.


An internship is usually a work experience opportunity that is offered for a fixed period or a limited amount of time. Internships tend to be undertaken by students and graduates who are looking to gain more relevant/industry specific skills and experience in their particular field.

These opportunities can be paid for a period of between one to four months and typically take place over the summer, with closing dates generally around January to March, but some can be earlier.

Finding placement and internship opportunities

The websites below provide further information about placement and internship opportunities across engineering and manufacturing:

  • RateMyPlacement – offers information on placements, internships, insights and work experience with a range of companies and organisations across the engineering sector.
  • Gradcracker – as the UK’s careers website for Technology students, Gradcracker provides a search function for placements and internships relevant to your degree discipline.
  • TARGETjobs – provides information on different career sectors within engineering, with the ability to search for placement and internship opportunities.
  • Prospects – has its own search tool for work experience opportunities across sectors, including mechanical, manufacturing and electronic engineering.
  • Milkround – provides a search tool for internships and industrial placements across sectors, including engineering and manufacturing.
  • All About Careers – outlines different types of work experience and companies within engineering, referring to external websites and hosting its own jobs board.
  • TheBigChoice – links to a variety of internships and placements in the UK, including across engineering sectors.
  • Glassdoor - a growing job database offering company reviews, job opportunities and CEO approval ratings.
  • Step Recruitment – provider of paid student and graduate internships and placements across a range of sectors, including engineering.

Companies offering potential engineering experience

The websites below are those of some companies known to offer experience to students and graduates in your sector area, such as industrial placements and internships.

By accessing these sites and carrying out some initial research about the companies, you may find additional information about some of the opportunities available to you.


Getting involved in volunteering gives you the opportunity to develop employability skills and experience a variety of working environments. It provides the chance to network, meet new friends and boost your confidence.

Volunteering also enables you to gain practical experience and working examples to support your graduate applications. If you choose to commit a significant amount of time and impress the organisation during your volunteering, they may also provide you with a professional reference.

Key skill areas you will need to consider developing will be project management, technical and practical skills, the ability to collaborate effectively with others and communication skills. Examples of roles that the Volunteering Team have previously advertised and recruited to that will enhance these competencies include:

  • STEM Ambassador with STEM Learning – an opportunity to share your knowledge and passion for your degree subject with young people and to act as an inspiring role model through engagement in a range of learning and educational based activities. An opportunity to enhance interpersonal skills, presentation skills and to network with a wide range of professionals who work within STEM industries.
  • Canal Camp Volunteer with the Waterway Recovery Group – a residential opportunity offering the chance to use specialist and construction machinery and work as part of a team to support restoration.
  • Events Co-ordinator with the RNLI – supporting the delivery of events in the local community, implementing new and innovative fundraising opportunities and engaging in networking opportunities.
  • Home Safety Advisor with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service – acting as a representative to engage with members of the community, visiting households in pairs to conduct a Home Fire Safety Visit; identifying fire hazards and inspecting/fitting smoke alarms if required. An opportunity to enhance communication and interpersonal skills by engaging with a range of organisations.

You can access such opportunities via the Virtual Volunteering Bank, which provides local roles for students and graduates. 


If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team on email

Tips for success when looking for experience

Before starting your search consider your requirements:

Initially, it is important to identify whether or not there is specific experience you wish to gain within a particular sector or could your search be broader where you are looking to gain transferable skills? Some key considerations for your search may include:

  • Are you looking for experience that relates to a specific unit you are taking as part of your university course?
  • What are your career goals and aspirations? How might the opportunity help you work towards these?
  • Are there any gaps in your skillset that need to be addressed? How might an opportunity enable you to fill this gap?
  • What is the time commitment and location of the role? Does this fit in with your plans and other commitments?
  • What type of organisation would you like to gain experience with? A bigger national or multinational company? A small to medium-sized enterprise, charity of not-for-profit organisation?

Make sure you carry out thorough research

Research the different potential employers who may be looking for graduates within the mechanical, manufacturing or electronic sectors before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills. Are you interested in working within consultancy, contracting or automation? Do you have a specific goal to work within design or network engineering? Do control and instrumentation engineering roles appeal to you?

As a starting point take a look at the job profiles included on the Prospects website at the following links:

These will help you to consider the type of work experience recommended and the skills you will need to develop to enhance graduate applications to specific roles.

Be proactive

Use your initiative and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively – send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.


There are many opportunities for engineering students to network – this is about interacting with others to share information and contacts. It’s a great way as a student and as a graduate to meet a variety of people in the engineering industry – from recruiters and executives to graduates and other students in your area.

It's also helpful to seek advice on how to secure work experience or a graduate role; how to approach the application and interview process; exploring job opportunities; and gaining an insight into the industry, including individual companies. It is also an opportunity to build your confidence and communication skills in a professional setting.

Opportunities to network may include careers fairs, employer talks or presentations, guest lectures and workshops or skills sessions delivered by recruiters. Find out more from TARGETjobs.

Create a positive online presence

Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers – see our ‘Networking and Social Media’ section for further guidance. ‌

Finding a job

There are many different areas within the engineering and manufacturing sector and work can be varied. Some areas you could get involved in include: software, electrical, electronic, automotive, aerospace and chemical engineering, food manufacturing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, research and development, and power and utilities generation, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.

Useful websites to help you start your job search

  • Prospects – Search for graduate jobs online via the Prospects website.
  • TARGETjobs – Information on job vacancies and what industry sectors you can work in.
  • Gradcracker – A job site dedicated to STEM recruitment.
  • WISE – Job vacancies focused on STEM occupations.
  • Engineer Jobs – Specialist recruitment site for the engineering industry.
  • Jobtensor – A specialist recruiter across IT, Science and Engineering.
  • Just Engineers – Job site for the engineering sector. Vacancies include electrical, mechanical, design, environmental and civil enginering positions.
  • The Engineer – A recruitment site for the engineering community.
  • Engineering Jobs – A job site which allows you to search for vacancies via job title and location.
  • Academic Job EU – A leading advertiser of academic, engineering vacancies for universities and research institutes in the EU.
  • Manufacturing Recruitment – A site which specialises in engineering and technical recruitment.
  • Entech – An engineering and technical recruitment specialist across a number of sectors.
  • The Telegraph – Manufacturing job vacancies brought to you by The Telegraph.
  • Total Jobs – A jobs board which allows you to search for manufacturing vacancies by location, job title, skill or company.
  • Precision People Recruitment – A specialist engineering and technical recruitment agency for job roles across the UK.
  • Matchtech – An engineering recruitment agency across job areas.
  • Adzuna – a search engine for job advertisements listed across a range of sources. Offers a search option for engineering roles.

Employers recruiting in this sector

Make sure you do your own research to find more potential employers that interest you.

The aerospace industry

The automotive industry

The food and drink manufacturing industry

The oil and gas industry

Large design and manufacturing companies

Tips for finding a job

  • Keep up to date with Engineering and Manufacturing news and trends by following professional bodies on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn, these sites might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
  • Keep your on line job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
  • If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within engineering and manufacturing, check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.

How to get hired by TARGETjobs

TARGETjobs has recently renewed their advice and information on ‘how to get hired’; sharing top tips and insights into the individual recruitment processes of some of the biggest engineering employers. Some examples have been included below, but you can access further information through the employer hubs on the TARGETjobs website and look out for the lightbulb icon under each employer name.

Further information

If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.

Specialist agencies

  • Engineering Jobs – Online recruitment site providing engineering related vacancies for professionals across sectors.
  • Matchtech – An engineering recruitment specialist and work with employers and job-seekers across the engineering industry, all over the world.
  • Reed – Recruitment consultancy with specialism in recruiting staff within the electrical, mechanical, electronics and design sectors, throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Agency Central – A manufacturing and production recruitment agencies directory.

Contact us

The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Further study
  • CV and covering letters
  • Application forms
  • Job search
  • Interviews

We have an online jobs board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised job matching service.

You can also access our services by calling or emailing us:

Email us:

Phone us: +44 (0)2392 842684