Careers in the public sector

What do engineers do in the public sector?

Depending on their specialism, engineers in the public sector can manage large infrastructure or construction projects, or focus on more policy-related retrofitting and sustainability projects . Engineers bring their technical and construction skills and knowledge, analytical skills, and project management experience to roles in the public sector. Engineering can include building, mechanical, structural or civil engineering backgrounds.

In the public sector, engineers could advise on the design and construction of development, carry out feasibility studies and site investigations, undertake complex calculations, set up project specifications, draft briefs and tender documents for specialist contractors, develop detailed designs, and present technical information to decision-makers and at inquiries.

What type of job roles might a civil engineer be suitable for?

People with engineering backgrounds may be suitable for a wide range of public sector built environment roles, including project management - managing delivery of complex projects within infrastructure, development, and transport utilities; planning - developing policy, commenting on planning applications or advising on building systems, products, regulations and standards; sustainability - developing guidance or delivery on sustainable construction or energy efficiency.

Progression would involve moving to a managerial or senior leadership position, with more responsibility for overseeing projects, supervising the work of team members, communicating with contractors and consultants, and managing large budgets.

Engineers we've recruited into public sector roles

Qualifications needed

Depending on the type of Engineering specialism there are a number of different qualifications a public sector organisation may look for when appointing an engineer into their team.

Civil Engineering: Qualification requires an undergraduate degree accredited by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) followed by a postgraduate degree or practical employer-led learning programme.

Mechanical Engineering: Qualification and achieving chartered status requires an undergraduate degree accredited by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Structural Engineering: Qualification requires an undergraduate degree in civil or structural engineering or a postgraduate degree in structural engineering. After this, structural engineers can work towards chartered membership with the Institution of Structural Engineering.

Building Services Engineering: Qualification requires a degree accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. Common related degrees include electrical engineering, environmental engineering and sustainable construction.

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