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Ways in

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There are four main levels of job in engineering. This means that you can start your career from any achievement level and work towards more qualifications at levels from one to six and higher. The qualifications you need for entry depend on the level you start at. It is possible to improve both your skills and your prospects by taking additional training and qualifications, to enable you to progress from craft to technician level and on to professional level.

Operative - Levels one and two:

Many operatives start as apprentices and train on the job. There are also pre-employment training courses at some colleges and training providers, and a range of engineering-related qualifications .Although it is possible to find a job as an engineering operative without any formal qualifications, GCSEs (A*-E) can be useful. With increased automation and use of technology, operatives need to have some understanding of Information Technology and of the systems involved in producing goods. Some employers may ask applicants to take a technical aptitude test to assess their manual skills.

Craft - Level three:  

The main route into craft level is through an Apprenticeship. There are no set qualifications required for entry, but individual employers may ask for at least four GCSEs (A*-C), including English, maths and a subject such as science, engineering, or design and technology.

Technician - Levels three and four:

Technicians can either train with an employer on an Apprenticeship, or take a full time engineering course and then apply for a trainee technician post. It may be possible to start as a trainee technician with four GCSE's (A*-C) via an Apprenticeship scheme.

Professional - Level six and higher:

You can start by taking an accredited degree - lots of disciplines are available, from aeronautical to chemical. Minimum qualifications for engineering degrees are usually two A levels including maths (and sometimes physics) or equivalent. A Foundation year may be possible for those who do not have the required subjects. Chemical engineering requires chemistry at A Level or equivalent. Clinical engineering entry into the NHS is through the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) Clinical Scientist Training Scheme, for which there is fierce competition. 

For courses in higher education, see UCAS

For courses in schools and colleges, see UCAS Progress

For Apprenticeship information, including vacancies, see the National Apprenticeship Service