Rolls Royce is one of the worlds most recognised brands and ranks in the Top 3 employers in Derby City – with a international workforce of over 50,000, the Derby sites accommodate 14,000 of these employees.

For information on the work experience, apprenticeships, internships and school leaver jobs, there is a page of advice for school & university leavers here. There are a huge range of roles at the Derby site, in both technical and practical roles.


Alex Vincent, one of our local partners from Bombardier, the UK’s largest train manufacturer based in Derby, has the following information about careers in Engineering:

Engineering plays one of the most integral roles in modern society. Everything we Bombardier logouse has been touched by an engineer, from the transport we take, the phones we use or the structures we live and work in. It involves the designing, testing and building of machines, structures and processes using maths and science, finding solutions to day-to-day and worldwide challenges.

What does an Engineer do?

An engineers’ main job is being responsible for designing, developing, building and testing the project they are involved in, ensuring that it is safe and fit for purpose for its intended environment or purpose. There are multiple types of engineers specialising in certain areas including aerospace, biomedical, architectural and computers, but traditionally there are four main types of Engineering careers which are Mechanical (tools and machines), Civil (buildings and infrastructure), Electrical (components and power generation/distribution) and Chemical (food, drugs and chemicals).

 An engineer will usually undertake the following activities as part of their role:

  • agreeing budgets, timescales and specifications with clients and managers
  • using computer-aided design and engineering software to create project plans and diagrams
  • designing and overseeing the installation of systems and processes
  • undertaking relevant research
  • implementing designs and creating test procedures
  • testing, evaluating, modifying and re-testing products
  • writing reports and documentation
  • analysing and interpreting data
  • maintaining and modifying equipment to ensure that it is safe, reliable and efficient for its lifespan

What skills and qualities do you need to become an engineer?

Typically Engineers have a strong background in Maths and Science, with a sound grasp of the English Language. However, the softer skills are just as important, such as the abilities to listen, problem solve, negotiate/compromise and be approachable. But as with all careers; passion, commitment and enthusiasm is the most important quality of all and what we as employers really want to see from our employees.

How can you become and engineer?

Traditionally there are 3 routes:

    1. Apprenticeship Schemes – Entry to level 3 – 3 x GCSE’s A*-C or equivalent – English and Maths included
      • Typically join from school, but no age limit
      • 3 / 4 year courses, supported learning at Technical / Further Education Colleges
      • Structured work experience
      • Earn while you Learn – Vocational / Technical qualifications

At Bombardier for example we have:

      • Mechanical Engineering, Welding, Test, Electrical and Paint schemes
      • Rotations of 3-6 months around different projects gaining experience
      • Mentor and regular reviews, support and development throughout the scheme
      • Day release: Learning Unlimited, Pride Park- Chesterfield College Group
    1. Graduate Schemes – Graduates will need a degree in a relevant engineering or science/maths-based subject
      • 2 year rotational programme
      • Rotations of 3-6 months around various areas of the business
      • Fully supported by a mentor, buddy, home manager and host manager
      • Gain chartership in the relevant field: CIPS, IMechE, IET, APM
      • Some schemes sponsor elements of University tuition fees
      • Supported career foundation – structured work experience post University
      • Supported career development through Institutions / Chartership
    1. Direct Entry
      • Often job related with training included
      • Gain work experience through differing roles

At Bombardier and at nearly all large or medium sized organisations, they have annual Graduate and Apprentice intake schemes. Graduate schemes also do not necessarily apply to just engineering, as we have Engineering, Quality, Procurement, Project Management and Services Execution Graduate programmes also.

Applications typically start at the beginning of each year, for uptake starting in September. Both allow the development of transferable skills, understanding of how organisations work, build confidence in meeting and working with different people and confirm your interest in a career or industry.

Alex goes on to recommend the following resources, if you would like to find out more: