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Civil Engineer Profile

 
Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Civil Engineer. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Civil Engineer
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Civil Engineer Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Civil engineers, sometimes known as structural engineers, can work in several different fields including construction, transport, power, maritime and public sector.

Once plans for an engineering project have been approved, work starts under the supervision of one or more civil engineers. A civil engineer could be involved with this work at any point from design to completion. It is an extremely varied and interesting career and offers opportunities at all levels of skill and expertise. The work of a civil engineering could involve the following:

  • construction - buildings, sports stadiums or shopping centres
  • transport - railways, roads, bridges and traffic studies
  • power - hydroelectric schemes, dams, oil rigs and pipelines
  • hydraulics - the movement of water from one area to another for consumption or irrigation
  • maritime - the construction and development of docks and harbours
  • public health - waste disposal, sewage treatment and disposal.


Experienced civil engineers are usually either incorporated or chartered.

Incorporated engineers specialise in developing and applying modern technology, and play an increasingly vital role within any organisation which depends on a skilled technical workforce. With their detailed knowledge and understanding of current engineering applications, they have the skills and expertise to ensure projects run smoothly, and often hold key operational management roles.

Chartered engineers may be involved in research and development or manufacture and installation. They may progress into senior general management - typically as project leaders - and be responsible for teams of incorporated engineers and technicians.

Hours and Environment

Civil and structural engineers work both in offices and on site. When working on a design project they are likely to work office hours from 9am to 5pm. Working on site can involve extensive travelling. Senior roles usually involve working on several projects, visiting sites, attending meetings and working in an office.

Site work can be in areas that are inhospitable or remote. This may mean working outdoors in all weathers at heights, on scaffolding or ladders. Safety clothing may need to be worn in these circumstances.

Skills and Interests

To be a civil or structural engineer, you should:

  • have a methodical approach to design and planning
  • be able to produce accurate plans and drawings
  • have strong mathematical ability and an aptitude for physics
  • be able to work in and lead a team
  • have a high standard of computer literacy
  • have organisational ability
  • have good communication skills.


Entry

Entry is usually with a first degree or BTEC HNC/D in, for example, civil engineering or civil engineering combined with another subject such as management, architecture or design.

The Institute of Civil Engineers website lists approved degree courses.

For a degree course you will need at least five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) and two or three A levels/three or four H grades, normally including maths and a science subject, or equivalent qualifications. For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority

An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). At some universities, if you do not have the necessary background in science and maths, you can take a one-year foundation course as an alternative.Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

The minimum age you can register as a chartered or incorporated civil or structural engineer is 25. There is no maximum age for registration.

The Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers have mature candidate schemes for adults who wish to become chartered or incorporated engineers, but who do not have the normal academic qualifications. You need to be over 35 with at least 15 years experience in construction, including responsibility for initiating and managing projects.

Training

To qualify as an incorporated civil engineer you should:

  • have an accredited three-year engineering degree or equivalent qualification, or an accredited HNC/D plus further learning equivalent to one year of study, known as a matching section; this does not have to be formal study but should be at final year degree level
  • complete a period of initial professional development including practical training and professional engineering experience
  • successfully pass a professional review
  • gain corporate membership of the Institution of Incorporated Engineers.


The Institution of Incorporated Engineers offers a number of awards to help women who are studying for Incorporated Engineer qualifications.

To qualify as a chartered civil engineer you must:

  • have an accredited MEng degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant engineering subject
  • complete a period of initial professional development which includes formal and informal training and professional engineering experience
  • successfully pass a professional review
  • gain corporate membership of the Institute of Civil Engineers.


Graduate apprenticeships in engineering may be available - contact the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (SEMTA) for further details.

Opportunities

Many different types of organisations employ civil engineering graduates. Examples are:

  • consulting firms, which usually specialise in certain types of project, such as roads, power stations or docks and harbours. They may work for many different clients, including overseas governments
  • contractors, who undertake all types of construction, or specialise in either building or civil engineering
  • local authorities - it is possible to work as a county or municipal engineer, in technical administration or in planning departments
  • gas and electricity supply companies, who employ civil engineers to design storage, generating and distribution systems
  • transport authorities, who may employ civil engineers to design and construct lines and stations and plan services.


Overseas, there are good opportunities with British firms of consulting or contracting engineers working for foreign governments, or with international oil and mining companies.

Annual Income

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

Income for new graduate engineers is about £19,000 a year.
Senior chartered civil or structural engineers can earn around £35,000.
Heads of departments or directors can earn more than £40,000.

Further information

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) *
14 Upton Road
Watford
Hertfordshire
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682
www.semta.org.uk

Institution of Civil Engineers
1 Great George Street
London
SW1P 3AA
Tel: 020 7222 7722
www.ice.org.uk

The Institution of Structural Engineers
11 Upper Belgrave Street
London
SW1X 8BH
Tel: 020 7235 4535
www.istructe.org.uk

CITB-Construction Skills *
Bircham Newton
Kings Lynn
Norfolk
PE31 6RH
Tel 01485 577577
www.citb.org.uk

* PLEASE NOTE
National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website: www.ssda.org.uk


Other Useful Civil Engineer Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Civil Engineer job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Civil Engineer Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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