28 May, 2022

How to combat the skill shortage in STEM

22 February, 2022

Mechanical engineers make things work the way they are supposed to work, and they are inventors and innovators. They design and develop valuable technologies and machinery that advance our communities and improve our way of life. These products range from sports cars to prosthetic limbs and 3D printers. In short, mechanical engineers create and operate the technological world around you.


The UK is experiencing a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills shortage. According to a study by the Engineering Design Show, over 50% of engineering firms find it difficult to recruit and retain staff with the skills and knowledge necessary for the job. In response to this, the government is investing millions of pounds into STEM education. This means mechanical engineering will be more accessible for aspiring scientists from all backgrounds.

As of March 2021, the average salary for an entry-level Mechanical Engineering role in the UK is £36,092, ranging between £25,429 and £43,111. With the investments in STEM education and the 10% rise in wages, there has never been a better time to embark on a mechanical engineering course.

This article will explore the importance of mechanical engineers across various industries, including power plants, automotive, and aerospace.

Power plant engineers

To begin, mechanical engineers are responsible for the systems and components design, operation, and management of power plants. There are many types of power plants, including nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind and tidal. Each power plant converts energy to electricity differently. Mechanical engineers collaborate with civil, chemical, and electrical power engineers to design, build, and operate power plants.

Power plant engineers ensure machinery is running at optimal capacity and maintain turbines, compressors, boilers, and much more. When a machine develops a fault, an engineer will work to find the source of the problem, develop a solution, and may be expected to work overtime. Other daily tasks of a mechanical engineer include designing power using appliances, maintenance, health and safety, security, and ensuring projects are kept within budget. Overall, energy engineers are highly important and hardworking.

The UK government pledged to make all of Britain’s energy green by 2035. This will mean British electricity supply will move away from gas and fossil fuels, focusing instead on nuclear, wind, and solar energy. These renewable sources work much differently than fossil fuels, so the way we use electricity in buildings and manufacturing and even transport will need to be redesigned. Therefore, the role of mechanical engineers is as important as ever as the nation races against time to produce environmentally friendly energy.

Automotive engineers

Mechanical engineers can also work within the automotive sector. Engineers in this industry work with a number of vehicles, including cars, motorbikes, bicycles and buses.

Automotive engineers can work on all the different vehicle systems, like engines, batteries, gears, interior and exterior styling, materials, and brakes. They are skilled at designing blueprints for vehicle components, as well as building and rigorously testing them. Moreover, automotive engineers must be skilled at interpreting data, writing indepth reports, and liaising with suppliers. Therefore, all engineers must be able to work both independently and within a team. This is a diverse role that is perfect for someone who lives life in the fast lane.




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