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Career profile: Marine engineer

marine engineer shipBritain is famous for her relationship with the sea. Marine engineers are crucial for making sure that the vessels we use are always cutting edge and safe.

A what?

Marine engineers design, make and maintain engineering systems used in ships and offshore installations (like oil rigs).

On the job

Marine engineers could work in all sorts of environments from a simple design office to a ship yard, oilrig or even on board a ship, as the engineering officer. Their job is to make sea going vessels and structures to survive in water.

Marine engineering often has elements from mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering, so you need to be well-qualified. A lot of their focus is on safety, making sure that the structures and systems they work on are secure at sea in all weather conditions.

Some of likely employers of marine engineers are the merchant navy, royal navy and the oil and gas industries.

How do I get there?

The usual route to becoming a marine engineer is to study engineering at university. To get into these courses you normally need at lease five GCSEs, grades A-C and two or three A levels or four H grades, including maths and a science subject. Or you could get in with an equivalent qualification like an Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education (AVCE).

Some universities do offer a one-year foundation course for students who don’t have a science and maths background.

It is also possible to begin training for craft or technician-level jobs straight from school with good GCSEs/S grades in English, maths and science.

What are the future prospects?

Once you are qualified, you’re likely to have lots of options for where you’ll work. When you’re promoted you will probably have to manage a team of engineers, so your employers will be looking at how well you work with other people.

The salary range from £20,000 to over £40,000 a year, depending on your experience and employer.