Education and Careers FAQs

Where can I find advice on careers in engineering?

See ‘How do I become a civil engineer?’ and take a look at the Tomorrow’s Engineers web-site – it has lots of useful information on engineering careers.

Can you send me information on engineering careers?

Yes, we have an ‘The Everything You Need To Know Guide To Civil Engineering’ for secondary schools and the ‘Discover the amazing world of civil engineering’ activity sheet for primary schools.

Simply email careers@ice.org.uk with your request (please provide your name, address and how many you need) and we will post them to you. Please allow two weeks for delivery.

You can order more careers literature on engineering direct from Tomorrow’s Engineers. ICE holds a small stock of some of their resources and we would be happy to include a few of the following if you are ordering our civil engineering leaflets:

  • What is Engineering?
  • From Idea to Career: Explore 12 Areas of Engineering
  • Parents' guide to engineering careers
  • Vocational and Apprenticeship Routes into Engineering
  • Engineering at University

Why are there so many kinds of engineering?

Engineers design, create and sustain nearly everything we rely on in the modern world – from mobile phones to clean water - so it involves lots of different technical specialisms.

The Tomorrow’s Engineers’ ‘From idea to career’ booklet explains the main engineering specialisms … but we hope you’ll think civil engineering is the best for you!

Do civil engineers work in offices or outdoors?

Both. Civil engineers work in design offices, on-site, and in meetings with partners, clients and with local communities.

Some engineers love being outdoors and hate being stuck in an office. Others prefer to be office based and to visit sites only occasionally. The ‘hard hats and high-vis’ image is not the whole story!

However, you need to understand the bigger picture whatever your personal preferences. Early in their careers, civil engineers are given experience of both design and construction so that they understand the implications of their decisions on the rest of the construction team.

How much do civil engineers get paid?

The average salaries for civil engineers in 2016, the latest figures published by EngineeringUK, were:

  • £25,880 for new graduates
  • £29,850 for technicians
  • £40,953 for engineers

How can I get work experience?

ICE doesn’t broker work experience placements so you will need to contact engineering employers in your area to see if they can help.

However, there are alternatives ways to get a taste of what engineering is all about:

  • EDT run a number of excellent engineering taster sessions
  • The Arkwright Trust offers high quality engineering scholarships for sixth-form students
  • You are welcome to attend one of ICE’s talks or webinars if you see something of interest or, to explore our latest exhibition

Should I apply for an apprenticeship or a university place?

Industry is keen to take on both apprentices and graduates, and we see civil engineers and technicians progressing on both routes, including to Chief Executive level. The choice is then yours! Some key points to consider are:

  • How do you like to learn? Is it mostly through academic study or mostly through on the job training?
  • Much is made of student debt in the UK but Money Saving Expert offers practical advice on student finances.
  • How far can your employer take you on an apprenticeship? Level 3 apprenticeships are at the same educational stage as A-levels but HNC, HND and degree level apprenticeships are available for those who want to move to higher levels.

It is also worth reading Tomorrow’s Engineers’ guidance on vocational and apprentice and university routes into engineering.

How do I find an apprenticeship?

See ‘How do I become a civil engineer?’ for links to places where civil engineering apprenticeships are advertised.

Which are the best universities?

First and foremost, you should look for a course that is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators – where ICE and three other professional bodies work together to recognise degrees that meet the academic requirements for professional qualification.

The answer depends on how you like to learn. Some students prefer a more traditional academic environment, while others prefer a more vocational style of learning. Industry needs both types of people. We recommend that you ask your preferred universities about their approach, and about their links with industry.

Can I get a scholarship to study civil engineering?

ICE’s QUEST scheme offers over 100 scholarships each year for students on accredited courses in the UK: both undergraduate and vocational qualifications.

Many universities offer grants as well, so check if there are any on offer for courses that interest you.

Can a civil engineer speak at my school?

Yes! We’d like more young people to find out that civil engineering is a fun, creative and rewarding career. Please let us know where and when you would like a speaker at careers@ice.org.uk and we’ll do our best to find a volunteer to talk to your students.

Can you recommend any good books on civil engineering?

There are lots of interesting stories about engineering, for all ages. Take a look at our current favourites and let us know if there are any great books we have missed. Drop us a line at: careers@ice.org.uk.

Are there any interesting videos about civil engineering?

Yes! Take a look at ‘What’s your story’, ‘This is engineering’ and ‘Dream big’.

For younger children, we love the CBeebies’ Nina and the Neurons and Atkins’ ‘Engine Ears’.

Check out some more of our favourites here.

Do you have a great video about engineering you would like to share? Drop us a line at careers@ice.org.uk.

Where can I see civil engineering in action?

Civil engineering is all about creating and maintaining the built environment. It is all around us. The major buildings, roads, railways, ports, bridges, tunnels, water and energy supplies, and flood defences were created by civil engineers.

If you are lucky, you may be able to visit the community office of a site near you. If not, ICE’s ‘What is Civil Engineering’ web-pages have lots of examples of how civil engineers do what they do.