The specifics of the role of an engineering graduate trainee will vary widely depending on the firm and projects they are assigned to. Graduate engineering trainees may come from aeronautical, civil, chemical, electrical or mechanical backgrounds and they may be required to complete tasks including data analysis, modeling, or product design and testing. There are a number of qualifications that engineering graduates will need to complete before they are permitted to undertake certain work and these may or may not be funded by their employer… Let’s take a look at insights directly from graduate trainees working in the engineering field…

1. Day-to-day tasks

‘My team develops future braking technologies, so a typical day might start by checking some CAD data and sending parts off to be manufactured. I might then need to book a car into the workshop for some instrumentation to be fitted, before eventually taking the vehicle out to a proving ground to gather data. Alongside this I need to document the project including making a business case for the technology and eventually presenting the test results in a high level summary.’
Graduate Research Engineer, Chassis Research
 
‘Process time-histories through bespoke software. Create reports and feedback data to customers.’
Test Data Analyst
 
‘Currently I am working at one of our pilot plants supporting the build of a set of prototypes. I help to ensure the correct parts are available and troubleshoot any issues, such as missing or faulty parts.’
Graduate Trainee (Product Development Engineering)

2. Best and worst things about your job

‘Real responsibility given. Chance to solve real engineering challenges. Plenty of opportunity to get involved in other projects. Seeing the finished products driving on roads all over the world. Good opportunities for development. High pressure can demand longer working hours but you do get paid handsomely for this extra work.’
Safety Test Engineer
 
‘Great exposure and a department that is right at the heart of the vehicle. This gives me a great view of the new technologies. Can be a stop/start job, some days there is a lot to do, and some days very little.’
Engineering Graduate, Automotive Brakes Design
 
‘As a graduate, the training I’ve received has been very high quality, and has included technology specific masters degree modules, external “life coaching” and a residential leadership skills course in the Lake District. It can be difficult to take on large scale responsibilities during the graduate scheme, this is due to frequent rotations and an extensive set of training requirements for the 2 year scheme. However, graduates are given a designated “home team”, so I have been able to tailor my training and experiences to best contribute to this team in the future.’
Graduate Research Engineer

3. Average working hours

8am – 5pm

4. Average graduate salary

£27,000 – £29,000

5. Interview tips

Application Advice: Be passionate about materials. We’re a materials company and have many, many products. You’ll be working around them daily so having an interest really helps!
Interview Advice: Research the company, read up on group interview techniques (i.e. assessment days). Ask questions!!
Graduate Engineer, Continuous Improvement at Morgan Advanced Materials
 
Application Advice: Try to focus on every stage of the application individually. Be specific and concise when answering questions in the application. It is very important that you choose the role that you are interested in.
Interview Advice: Once you make it through the assessment center, remember that there is no competition amongst other candidates. Just be your best, because you have applied for this role if you are interested about it.
Graduate Engineer, Rail Systems at Siemens
 
Application Advice: Be yourself, and don’t reconstruct your CV at every opportunity. Use the CV as a tool to show your achievements; keep it factual and keep it simple. Honesty and integrity are valued at National Grid, so ensure you keep this in mind when constructing applications.
Interview Advice: Let your personality show through and your CV support your achievements; National Grid wants the best people, which may not translate to the same criteria as other FTSE25 companies.
Asset Management Development Engineer, Asset Management at National Grid

Click here to view the full range of job reviews by graduates engineering trainees and view the video below for more information from an engineering graduate trainee working in car manufacturing & production for Jaguar Land Rover.

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Biane Aliyar is a Technical Trainee at Menzies LLP. Read her story here.

1
Have your own questions prepared. It's your turn! As the interview comes to a close, one of the final questions you may be asked is "What can I answer for you?" Your interviewer will expect you to have...
2
Research the Company. Do your homework about the employer and the industry so you are ready for the interview question "What do you know about this company?"
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