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Engineering design

Automotive engineer

Automotive engineers design, develop, test and build cars and motorbikes.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings; on shifts

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Automotive engineer jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

You might work on:

  • body, chassis and engine systems
  • electrical and electronic instrumentation and control systems
  • thermodynamics, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics
  • fuel technology and emissions

You could work in:

  • design – turning ideas into blueprints for development and testing, taking into account safety, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact and look
  • development – building and testing prototypes using computer simulations and physical models to assess components' strengths, weaknesses, performance and safety
  • production – planning the production run, including redesigning machine tools, equipment and processes to make new parts, monitoring costs and production schedules, and overseeing quality control

Working environment

You could work in an office, at a research facility or at a manufacturing plant.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
University

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree, before joining a company training scheme.

Relevant subjects include:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electrical or electronic engineering
  • design engineering
  • manufacturing engineering
  • automotive engineering

A course with a work placement or an internship will be especially useful.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a manufacturing engineer degree apprenticeship or product design and development engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in the automotive industry through Autocity and Your Future in Automotive.

With experience, you could progress to senior engineer roles, project team management, general management or consultancy.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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