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Career Spotlights ~ Energy Engineer
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Basic Info
  • Hours: Variable
  • Starting Salary: £22,000 + per year
The Work

As an engineer involved in energy production, you would work on the extraction of oil and has, or on producing energy from renewable or sustainable sources such as wind power, solar power or biofuels.

You might work in a wide variety of roles, for example:

  • As a reservoir engineer, calculating how much oil or gas a well will produce and planning how to extract as much as possible
  • Researching new ways of generating energy - for example, designing wind farms
  • Designing machinery and developing ways of improving existing processes
  • Overseeing the drilling operations on a offshore rig, as a drilling engineer

Your day-to-day tasks would depend on the type of project you were involved in, but might include:

  • Using Mathematical and Computer models to calculate the size and shape of a reservoir
  • Deciding on the best locations for production wells to maximise profit
  • Planning an offshore production platform's drilling programme
  • Co-ordinating the work of a drilling team
  • Designing and selecting equipment
  • Making sure oil or gas extraction meets environmental standards
  • Analysing drilling performance and factors affecting cost and efficiency
  • Working with other professionals such as Geologists, Geophysicists and Specialist Contractors
  • Carrying out laboratory experiments and converting them into large-scale industrial processes
Hours

In power plant or drilling operations, you could work on a seven-day shift system including nights and weekends. You would be more likely to work standard office hours in design, research and development. Onshore work is mainly in offices and laboratories, with some time spent out visiting sites. Some jobs may involve international travel and long stays away from home.

Income

Graduate starting salaries are between £22,000 and £30,000 a year, depending on the area of energy engineering. With more experiecne and responsibility, salaries can be between £35,000 and £60,000

Entry Requirements

To become an energy engineer, you will need a degree (BEng or BSc) or Masters degree (MEng or MSc) in a scientific or engineering subject, such as:

  • Mining or Petroleum Engineering
  • Environmental Technology
  • Energy Engineering
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable or Sustainable Energy
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Chemcial Engineering

To get onto a relevant degree you will typically need five GCSEs (A*-C), and at least two A Levels including Maths and a Science. Alternative qualifications may be accepted, and some Universities offer a foundation year for people without qualifications in Maths and Science. You should check exact entry requirements with course providers.

You will often need a master's degree for senior and research posts. See the Energy Institute's EnergyZone website for details of approved degrees and postgraduate courses

Training and Development

You will develop your skills on the job, possibly through a company's structured graduate training scheme.

You can improve your career prospects by gaining incorporated or chartered engineer status from the Engineering Council, and joining a professional engineering body like the Energy Institute.

See the Engineering Council and Energy Institute websites for details on how to gain incorporated and chartered engineer status

As an experienced engineer, you should keep your knowledge and skills up to date throughout your career. The Energy Institute offers a range of short courses in new skills and technologies to help you contrinue your professional development.

Skills and Knowledge
  • An interest in Science, Technology and the Environment
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Good planning and organisational skills
  • Excellent Mathematical and Computer skills
  • The ability to manage projects, budgets and people
  • Good communication and teamworking skills
  • Knowledge of electrical, mechanical and chemcial engineering

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