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Small companies could provide big gains for engineering careers

Posted by: Sally Fallon 5 Dec 13 - 5:05PM  | Engineering

Britain has a rich history of engineering success and diversity, where everything from individual entrepreneurs through to innovative large-scale companies have had a worldwide impact. The UK’s economy has long benefitted from this success as the nation punches well above its weight on the international stage. For the individual plying his or her trade as an engineer in Britain, this provides a wonderful range of opportunities to either be a big and formative part of something small and dynamic, or to be a small but integral cog in a large and cutting edge industry leader.

“Some people may dream of being a part of Jaguar Land Rover, British Aerospace or Kier, while others want to be a part of the personal, flexible and innovative SMEs that are making a name for themselves,” says Jonathan Lee Recruitment’s Scott McIntee, Managing Consultant of Commercial. “These are exciting times to be in British engineering as companies both big and small are competing at international levels by delivering innovative new products.”

The range of applications which British engineering is being applied to is becoming ever wider in part thanks to private sector innovation and entrepreneurial drive, but also government investment in a range of projects big and small. there is funding for large-scale infrastructure projects like HS2, a new reactor at Hinkley, and a variety of shale gas fracking, bio-ethanol facilities and renewable energy sources, but smaller business and innovation is also being championed. A £60 million investment in the much-lauded SABRe engine is just one example of a list of SMEs with innovative ideas receiving support at a national level. Cross industry innovation is also boosted with projects like the new transport Systems Catapult Centre, which will help UK businesses to develop solutions to public transport and freight needs, and synthetic biology, one of the most promising areas of modern science, is getting a boost of over £60 million to help the UK become a world leader.

“While some may seek the comfort and security of working for a large firm, SMEs often provide engineers with the ability to have a real impact,” says Scott. “A survey by the TUC found that employees in SMEs are more satisfied and committed to their jobs and loyal to their organisations. Additionally, many people value the ability to have their voice heard and respected in an organisation that is small and flexible enough to notice and take advantage of individual eureka moments. This gives a greater visibility to good work, and is also likely to expand the range and variety of projects you will be asked to work on.”

While traditional motivators like pay, job-security and location are still crucial factors in choosing a job or career path, it is important that candidates consider their personal aspirations and desires when looking at opportunities. Satisfaction and interest drive determination, productivity and ingenuity. ultimately, success in these areas will lead to a steady career progression upwards and growth for employer and employee alike. SMEs and large corporations both have significant merits and finding the right fit for the individual is crucial at all stages of a career path.

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