Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships UK

Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships

All you need to know about Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships and how to build a successful career in the world of Mechanical Engineering.

Exploring Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships: Engineering Your Future.

Our guide on Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships. If you're looking to kickstart a rewarding career in the field of mechanical engineering, an apprenticeship could be the perfect route for you. In this guide, we'll provide you with essential information about mechanical engineering apprenticeships, including what they are, the benefits they offer, how to apply, and more.



What are Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships?

Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships are structured training programs that combine hands-on work experience with academic learning. These apprenticeships are designed to equip individuals with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed to excel in the field of mechanical engineering. As an apprentice, you'll have the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals while earning a competitive salary and gaining industry-recognized qualifications.



What is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is a versatile and essential branch of engineering that focuses on the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems and devices. It encompasses a wide range of applications, from the development of machinery and vehicles to energy systems and consumer products. This field plays a crucial role in shaping various industries and technologies that drive modern society. In this article, we will delve into the fundamental concepts of mechanical engineering, explore potential career paths, and highlight key areas of innovation within the discipline.


Key Concepts

1. Mechanics and Kinematics

Mechanical engineering is rooted in the principles of mechanics and kinematics. Mechanics deals with the study of forces, motion, and the behaviour of physical objects under different conditions. Kinematics, a subset of mechanics, focuses on describing the motion of objects without considering the forces causing that motion. These concepts are fundamental for designing and analysing mechanical systems.


2. Thermodynamics and Energy Conversion

Thermodynamics is a cornerstone of mechanical engineering. It deals with the study of energy transfer and conversion within systems. Engineers in this field work on optimising energy processes, such as power generation and heat transfer, to enhance efficiency and sustainability.


3. Materials Science and Properties

Understanding the properties of materials is essential for designing reliable and efficient mechanical systems. Engineers evaluate materials' strength, durability, and other characteristics to select the most appropriate materials for specific applications. Advances in materials science have led to innovations like lightweight alloys and composite materials.


4. Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer

Fluid mechanics involves the study of fluids (liquids and gases) in motion and at rest. This knowledge is crucial for designing systems involving fluid flow, such as pumps, turbines, and ventilation systems. Heat transfer complements fluid mechanics by addressing how heat is transferred between objects or within fluids.


5. Design and Manufacturing

Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing products and systems that meet specific requirements while considering factors like safety, cost, and functionality. They collaborate with manufacturing experts to ensure designs can be efficiently fabricated and assembled.


6. Robotics and Automation

The integration of robotics and automation has revolutionised manufacturing and various industries. Mechanical engineers design robotic systems for tasks ranging from assembly lines to surgical procedures, enhancing precision and efficiency.


7. Automotive and Aerospace Engineering

Mechanical engineering has significantly shaped the automotive and aerospace sectors. Engineers in these fields work on designing vehicles, aircraft, and spacecraft, considering aerodynamics, propulsion systems, and structural integrity.



What Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships are available in the UK?

Mechanical engineering in the UK offers a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities that can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career. Here are some notable mechanical engineering apprenticeships available in the UK:


1) Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Maintenance: This apprenticeship focuses on developing skills in maintenance engineering, including mechanical and electrical maintenance. It's ideal for individuals interested in working with machinery, equipment, and systems in various industries.


2) Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship: This apprenticeship program provides training in manufacturing processes, quality control, and technical problem-solving. It's a great option for those who want to work in manufacturing and production settings.


3) Engineering Technician Apprenticeship: This apprenticeship covers a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines, including mechanical engineering. It offers a solid foundation in engineering principles and practices.


4) Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeships: For those interested in aerospace and aviation, there are specialised apprenticeships available that focus on mechanical engineering within the aerospace industry.


5) Automotive Engineering Apprenticeships: These apprenticeships are perfect for individuals passionate about cars and vehicles. They provide hands-on experience in designing, manufacturing, and maintaining automotive systems.


6) Power Engineering Apprenticeships: These apprenticeships are suitable for those interested in power generation, distribution, and maintenance. They cover areas such as mechanical systems, thermodynamics, and renewable energy technologies.


7) Marine Engineering Apprenticeships: If you have a fascination for maritime technology, marine engineering apprenticeships can lead to careers involving ship design, propulsion systems, and marine equipment.


8) Rail Engineering Apprenticeships: With a focus on railway systems and infrastructure, these apprenticeships offer opportunities to work on the mechanical aspects of trains and rail networks.


9) Construction Plant Maintenance Apprenticeships: These apprenticeships revolve around maintaining and repairing construction equipment and machinery, making them ideal for those interested in the construction industry.


10) Energy Engineering Apprenticeships: Energy engineering apprenticeships cover various aspects of energy production and distribution, including mechanical systems in power plants and energy-efficient technologies.


Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships


What will I learn during my Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship?

During your Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship, you'll gain valuable knowledge and skills that are essential for a successful career in the field of mechanical engineering. This apprenticeship program is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of mechanical engineering principles, practical applications, and industry-specific tools. Here's an overview of what you can expect to learn during your apprenticeship:


1) Fundamental Engineering Concepts:

You'll start by building a strong foundation in core engineering concepts, including physics, mathematics, and materials science. These fundamentals will serve as the basis for more advanced topics.


2) Mechanical Design and CAD:

You'll learn about mechanical design principles, including how to create detailed technical drawings and models using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. This skill is crucial for designing components and systems.


3) Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics:

Understanding thermodynamics and fluid mechanics is essential for analysing heat transfer, energy conversion, and fluid behaviour in mechanical systems. You'll learn how to optimise the efficiency of machines and processes.


4) Manufacturing Processes:

Gain insights into various manufacturing techniques, such as machining, casting, welding, and additive manufacturing. You'll understand the advantages and limitations of each process and how to choose the most appropriate one for a given application.


5) Mechanical Analysis and Simulation:

Learn how to perform stress analysis, finite element analysis (FEA), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. These tools help engineers predict how structures and systems will behave under different conditions.


6) Materials Selection and Properties:

Explore the properties of different materials and their applications in mechanical engineering. Understand factors like strength, durability, and corrosion resistance to make informed material choices.


7) Robotics and Automation:

As automation becomes increasingly important, you'll delve into the principles of robotics, automation, and control systems. This knowledge is valuable for designing and maintaining automated manufacturing processes.


8) Project Management:

Develop project management skills, including planning, scheduling, budgeting, and team coordination. Effective project management ensures the successful execution of engineering projects.


9) Professional and Ethical Practices:

Learn about the professional standards and ethical responsibilities of engineers. Understand the importance of safety, environmental considerations, and compliance with industry regulations.


10) Communication and Collaboration:

Enhance your communication skills to effectively convey technical information to both technical and non-technical stakeholders. Collaborative skills are crucial for working in multidisciplinary teams.


11) Industry-Specific Software and Tools:

Familiarise yourself with industry-standard software and tools used in mechanical engineering, such as CAD software (e.g., SolidWorks, AutoCAD), simulation tools (e.g., ANSYS), and data analysis software.


As you progress through your apprenticeship, you'll have the opportunity to work on real-world projects, apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, and receive guidance from experienced mentors and professionals in the field. Additionally, consider exploring related topics such as renewable energy systems, mechatronics, and advanced manufacturing techniques to expand your skill set and stay competitive in the evolving field of mechanical engineering.


Why Choose a Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship in mechanical engineering could be the perfect pathway to kickstart your career in this dynamic and essential field. In this article, we'll explore the compelling reasons why choosing a mechanical engineering apprenticeship could be a smart and strategic decision for your future. From hands-on experience to professional growth opportunities, let's delve into the benefits of embarking on this exciting journey.


Hands-On Learning

One of the most significant advantages of a mechanical engineering apprenticeship is the opportunity for hands-on learning. Unlike traditional classroom education, apprenticeships provide you with practical experience that goes beyond theoretical knowledge. You'll work alongside experienced professionals in real-world settings, gaining valuable insights into the intricacies of mechanical engineering. This immersive learning experience equips you with skills that are directly applicable to the field, giving you a competitive edge in the job market.


Structured Training

Mechanical engineering apprenticeships typically follow a well-structured training program. This means you won't be thrown into the deep end without guidance. Instead, you'll receive systematic training that covers essential topics and tasks relevant to mechanical engineering. From learning about different materials and manufacturing processes to understanding design principles and project management, the curriculum is designed to provide you with a comprehensive skill set.


Earn While You Learn

Financial concerns are a reality for many individuals considering higher education or career training. One of the standout benefits of a mechanical engineering apprenticeship is that you can earn a wage while you learn. Instead of accumulating student debt, you'll be gaining practical experience and receiving a pay-check. This can alleviate the financial burden associated with pursuing a traditional university degree and set you on a path toward financial independence.


Industry-Relevant Skills

The skills you acquire during a mechanical engineering apprenticeship are directly aligned with industry needs. This means that upon completing your apprenticeship, you'll possess skills that employers are actively seeking. Whether it's proficiency in using CAD software, expertise in troubleshooting mechanical systems, or a deep understanding of safety protocols, you'll be well-prepared to contribute effectively to the field of mechanical engineering.


Networking Opportunities

During your apprenticeship, you'll have the chance to connect with professionals who are established in the mechanical engineering industry. Building a strong professional network can open doors to exciting opportunities, including potential job offers or collaborations on innovative projects. Engaging with experienced engineers, mentors, and colleagues can provide insights that are not found in textbooks and can significantly impact your career trajectory.


Career Progression

A mechanical engineering apprenticeship can serve as a launching pad for your career progression. Many apprenticeships offer pathways for advancement within the same company or organisation. After completing your apprenticeship, you might have the opportunity to take on more responsibilities, move into specialised roles, or even lead your own projects. The experience gained during your apprenticeship will contribute to your credibility and expertise as you navigate your career journey.


Contributing to Innovation

Mechanical engineering is at the forefront of technological advancements and innovation. By choosing a mechanical engineering apprenticeship, you'll have the chance to contribute to ground-breaking projects and developments. From designing more efficient machinery to exploring sustainable energy solutions, your work as an apprentice could directly impact industries that shape the future.


A mechanical engineering apprenticeship offers a multitude of benefits for individuals looking to pursue a career in this field. From hands-on learning and industry-relevant skills to networking opportunities and the potential for career progression, apprenticeships provide a comprehensive and practical foundation. So, if you're ready to dive into the world of mechanical engineering, consider embarking on an apprenticeship journey that could shape your future for the better.



Mechanical Engineering Jobs After Your Apprenticeship


After successfully completing your apprenticeship in the field of mechanical engineering, you'll be well-equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a variety of rewarding career opportunities. Mechanical engineering is a broad and dynamic field that spans across various industries. Here are some potential job roles you can consider:


Mechanical Engineer: This is the most direct path for many apprentices. As a mechanical engineer, you'll work on designing, developing, and testing mechanical systems and devices. Your role might involve creating blueprints, conducting simulations, and overseeing the manufacturing process.


Manufacturing Engineer: In this role, you'll focus on optimiSing manufacturing processes and ensuring efficient production lines. You'll work to improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance product quality.


Product Design Engineer: Product design engineers are responsible for creating innovative and functional products. You'll use your technical skills to design products that meet customer needs and industry standards.


Quality Control Engineer: Quality control engineers ensure that products meet quality standards before they're released to the market. This involves conducting inspections, tests, and audits to identify and address any defects or issues.


Maintenance Engineer: Maintenance engineers are essential in industries that rely on machinery and equipment. Your role will involve regular maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of machinery to keep operations running smoothly.


Project Engineer: Project engineers manage engineering projects from start to finish. This includes planning, budgeting, coordinating resources, and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within scope.


HVAC Engineer: HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) engineers specialise in designing and maintaining heating and cooling systems in buildings and other structures. You'll focus on creating comfortable and energy-efficient indoor environments.


Aerospace Engineer: If you're interested in aviation and space technology, becoming an aerospace engineer could be a great choice. You'll work on designing aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems.


Automotive Engineer: In the automotive industry, you can work on designing, testing, and improving vehicles and their components. This includes everything from engines to safety features.


Research and Development Engineer: R&D engineers are involved in creating new technologies, products, and solutions. You'll conduct experiments, prototype new ideas, and contribute to the advancement of your field.


Consulting Engineer: Consulting engineers provide expert advice to companies and clients. Your role will involve solving complex engineering problems and offering recommendations for improvements.


Renewable Energy Engineer: With a growing focus on sustainability, renewable energy engineers work on developing and implementing green energy solutions such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric systems.


Biomechanics Engineer: This specialised field combines mechanical engineering principles with biology and medicine. Biomechanics engineers work on designing medical devices, prosthetics, and equipment for healthcare applications.


Marine Engineer: If you're fascinated by ships and maritime technology, you can become a marine engineer. You'll work on designing, maintaining, and repairing marine vessels and structures.


Nuclear Engineer: Nuclear engineers specialise in working with nuclear energy and radiation. They design and operate nuclear power plants, develop radiation protection measures, and contribute to medical and industrial applications of nuclear technology.


It's important to research and explore the specific industries and roles that align with your interests and goals. Additionally, consider pursuing further education or certifications to enhance your qualifications and open up even more opportunities in your chosen field of mechanical engineering. Good luck on your journey to a successful and fulfilling career!


Frequently Asked Questions About Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships

How much do Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships pay?

The pay for Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships in the UK can vary depending on several factors, including your age, the level of apprenticeship, and the location of your employer. Here's a summary of typical pay ranges and some key considerations:


Apprenticeship Levels:

1) Intermediate Level (Level 2): Apprentices aged 16 to 18 can expect a minimum wage of £5.28 per hour. Those aged 19 and over in their first year may receive the same rate, while those beyond their first year should receive the National Minimum Wage for their age group, which is higher.


2) Advanced Level (Level 3): The minimum wage for apprentices under 19 or in their first year is £5.28 per hour. However, due to the competition to attract apprentices at this level many companies are paying much higher.


3) Higher and Degree Apprenticeships (Level 4+): Pay rates for higher-level apprenticeships tend to be more competitive. Employers often pay more to attract candidates with advanced skills. These rates can vary widely, but they are generally higher than the minimum wage.

How can I become a Mechanical Engineering apprentice?

Simply register as an apprentice by creating a profile and uploading your cv, if you don't have a cv use the free tool to create one. Once you have done this the next step is to find Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships and apply.

Is there an age for Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships?

There is no age restriction on Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships. Historically apprenticeships were for 16-24yr olds, however you can now do an apprenticeship at any age, over the age of 16 years. An employer may add a minimum age requirement to an apprenticeship as the particular apprenticeship training may require you to drive for instance.

How long do Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships take to complete?

Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships typically take around 3 to 4 years to complete. The exact duration can vary depending on the specific program and the level of apprenticeship you are enrolled in. Here's a breakdown of the different levels and their average durations:


  1. Intermediate Level (Level 2): This apprenticeship usually takes around 2 to 3 years to complete. It provides a solid foundation in mechanical engineering principles and practical skills.

  2. Advanced Level (Level 3): The advanced apprenticeship generally takes 3 to 4 years to finish. It builds upon the skills and knowledge gained in the intermediate level, delving deeper into complex mechanical systems and technologies.

  3. Higher Level (Level 4-6): For those aspiring to more advanced roles, higher-level apprenticeships can extend from 4 to 6 years. These programs offer a more comprehensive understanding of mechanical engineering concepts and often include management and leadership components.

Will I have to work outside during my Apprenticeship?

Yes, it's possible that you might have to work outdoors during your Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship, but it largely depends on the specific nature of the apprenticeship and the tasks involved. Mechanical engineering encompasses a wide range of industries and roles, some of which may require outdoor work.


For example, if your apprenticeship is focused on industries like construction, energy, or manufacturing, there could be instances where you need to work outdoors. This might involve tasks such as field inspections, equipment maintenance, or installations that require exposure to outdoor environments.


However, not all mechanical engineering apprenticeships involve outdoor work. Some roles may be predominantly office-based or focused on indoor workshops. It's essential to research the details of the apprenticeship you're interested in to understand the typical work environment and requirements.

Register as an apprentice.

Register to become an apprentice on the UK's leading website for apprenticeships.

By setting up an apprentice profile and creating an apprenticeship alert you'll be one step closer to becoming a MechEng Apprentice. 


Apprenticeship Levels Explained

Intermediate Apprenticeships

Intermediate Apprenticeships

Intermediate Apprenticeships are your entry level into the world of apprenticeships more commonly known as a Level 2 Apprenticeship. Level 2 apprenticeships offer an excellent route into further education post 16, as an alternative to staying on at school, whilst receiving on the job training and studying towards a nationally recognised qualification.

During your intermediate apprenticeship you will study part-time with a college or a training provider, 20% of your training, towards an NVQ Level 2 and knowledge based qualification such as a BTEC, together these qualifications are the equivalent to 5 GCSE's grades 9 - 4 (A* - C on the old grading system). You will also receive a Level 2 Functional Skills in Maths and English if you don't already have them.

An Intermediate Apprenticeship is great for learning work related skills as apposed to being given more responsibility. This level of training will make you work ready and train you in the hands on skills required to undertake the responsibility of the task and give you the employability skills you need to be successful.

Qualifying Criteria

There is no formal qualifying criteria for a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship however some employers may ask for a minimum of 2 GCSE's to be able to join their apprenticeship programme.


Advanced Apprenticeships

Advanced Apprenticeships

Advanced Apprenticeships or commonly known as Level 3 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to doing 2 A-Levels and are the next level from an intermediate apprenticeship. Level 3 apprenticeships are great for you to start once you have completed your GCSE's and have attained the correct grades to be able to start at this level.

Starting at the advanced level even if you already have A-levels enables you to gain on the training, of which some employers prefer you to have before starting a Higher or Degree apprenticeship.

Just like an intermediate apprenticeship you will be required to spend at least 20% of your time studying with a college or training provider to be able to achieve the qualifications. On completion of you r apprenticeship you will achieve the equivalent of 2 A-Levels in the form of an NVQ Level 3 and a knowledge based qualifications such as a BTEC diploma.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualifying for a Level 3 advanced apprenticeship many employers ask for a minimum of 5 GCSE's which must include Maths and English, this is why an intermediate apprenticeships gives you these qualifications on completion. Although an advanced apprenticeships is the equivalent of 2 A-Levels some employers may add A-Levels as their requirement at this level also.

Find companies advertising advanced apprenticeship jobs on our website.

Higher Apprenticeships

Higher Apprenticeships

Higher Apprenticeships are your Levels 4 and 5 qualifications and enable you to study towards a HNC or HND respectively whilst at Level 5 you can also attain a foundation degree which is great if you want to continue in your studies towards a bachelors degree.

During your higher apprenticeship training you will be required to studying part-time with a training provider, college or university which along with your on the job training will enable you to train towards a Level 4 or 5 NVQ and BTEC diploma along with their respective HNC or HND qualification. Higher apprenticeships can take up to four years to complete.

As a higher apprentice you will be given a lot more responsibility which may include managing people or teams or even responsible for managing projects. You will be supported by your employer along side your mentors and tutors making sure to advise and guide you along the way during your apprenticeship programme.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualifying for a higher apprenticeship you will need to have achieved and completed at least a Level 3 Apprenticeship or have 5 GCSE's grades 9-4 which must include Maths and English and 2 A-Levels.

Find companies advertising higher apprenticeship jobs on our website.

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships were introduced in September 2015 and have been receive with open arms both by employers and apprentices alike. Also known as Level 6 or 7 apprenticeships the degree level apprenticeship enables you to study towards a Bachelors or Masters degree.

You can start a degree apprenticeships straight after your advanced apprenticeship level or alternatively if you want to gain more on the job training before the Level 6 programme you can overlap from a higher apprenticeship programme. Many employers are now partnering with leading universities across the country to offer degree level apprenticeships to help advance your learning opportunities.

Just like studying at university a degree level apprenticeship takes between 3 to 6 years to complete you will achieve this by on the job training with your employer and training provider and then part-time study at the designated university for your apprenticeship course.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualifying for a degree apprenticeship you will need to have at least Level 3 qualifications of 2 A-Levels, NVQ and BTEC or have completely the advanced apprenticeship. Level 6 and 7 are also a natural progression from a higher apprenticeship.

Find companies advertising degree apprenticeship jobs on our website.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a form of further education which offers on the job training for you to gain a nationally recognised qualification whilst studying part-time with an apprenticeship training provider, college or university through workshops or classroom training.

Apprenticeship training has to be delivered by a registered apprenticeship training provider which can also be an employer-provider, where the employer you are training through are on the register of training providers to be able to deliver their own training requirements. If an employer acts as an employer-provider they will usually employ a number of people such as Apprenticeship Assessors, Mentors and Managers to support you through your apprenticeship programme.

During your apprenticeship you will receive a salary and all the other benefits permanent employees receive. An apprenticeship job is only for a specified time as stipulated at the beginning of your apprenticeship training which can last anything from 12 months to 5 years.

To find our more about apprenticeships please refer to our What is an Apprenticeship? guide.

Why should you start an apprenticeship?

If you are considering your post 16 options you probably wouldn't have considered an apprenticeship a few years ago and would be struggling or worrying what to do when you leave school. It is a legal requirement for you to now stay in some form of further education until the age of 18 and you now have three options A-Levels, College or an Apprenticeship.

You can start an apprenticeship at the age of 16 through the Intermediate or Advanced level apprenticeship programmes across many industry sectors from Construction, Technology or even Marketing. There are no entry requirements for the intermediate apprenticeship, however you will need at least 5 GCSE's at grade 4 (previously C grade) or above to qualify for the advanced apprenticeship. On completion of the intermediate you will gain the qualifying criteria for a level 3.

The best reason for starting an apprenticeship is on completion of each level you will receive a nationally recognised qualification from an NVQ all the way up to a degree level apprenticeship such as a Bachelors or Masters.


How can you become an apprentice?

There are a number of ways to become an apprentice so we thought we would list them for you:

  • Register with websites like ourselves, there are others available.
  • Apprenticeship Job Fairs are great for meeting employers and training providers.
  • Contact training providers in your area, a simple Google search "Training providers near me" will give you the information you need.
  • Contact your local colleges or universities or visit their websites to see if they offer apprenticeship training.
  • UCAS promote apprenticeship opportunities on their website on behalf of employers.

and finally......

  • Do some research on apprenticeships and find a topic or industry that you would like to start an apprenticeship in and then research local companies in those sectors and visit their websites to see if they offer apprenticeship training and apply directly with them.



Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships