Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is essentially concerned with anything that moves and mechanical engineers use the fundamental principles of force, energy and motion to design and produce the mechanical processes that are behind the machines we use every day.

Mechanical Engineering is one of the broadest subjects in engineering so after graduating as a mechanical engineer you'll find a huge range of career opportunities available to you - you could end up designing car engines, developing high-performance sports equipment or using the latest 3D printing techniques to improve manufacturing processes.

Dilan Paranavithana

Dilan Paranavithana

Dilan moved from Sri Lanka to Sheffield to study Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Management. He now works for Rolls-Royce as a Composites Manufacturing Engineer.

During my penultimate year of university I attended a friend’s graduation project presentation at Rolls-Royce, Derby. Inspired, I successfully applied for Rolls-Royce’s engineering graduate scheme, after which I pursued several short placements in the company for 18 months.

In my current permanent role I develop composites manufacturing capabilities in the external supply chain to enable delivery of new engine projects. Working at the cutting edge of manufacturing technology, understanding the complexities of a jet engine and influencing its future design with some of the best professionals in the country makes it a challenging and enjoyable role.

My degree in Mechanical Engineering has enabled me to build up a logical thinking process that helps me day to day in my current role of introducing and exploiting new technology. My job requires key skills such as problem solving, applying engineering judgement and communicating with a number of internal and external stakeholders, all of which I developed through the varied project work in my degree.

In 2011 I secured a secondment to a brand new Rolls-Royce facility in Virginia, USA, where I spent six months validating the manufacturing processes for a critical engine component. Living and working there gave me experience of important technical skills involved with site transition, as well as the opportunity to travel in America, from New York to the Grand Canyon and Los Angeles!

Jessica Venn

Jessica Venn

Jessica graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and now works as a graduate design engineer for international engineering firm, Assystem.

My favourite subjects at school were maths and physics, because I enjoyed the challenge of solving problems and being able to understand if it was right or wrong. I wanted a career where I could apply these subjects and someone suggested engineering. To help me decide which discipline to apply for, I went on a HeadStart course at Surrey University which gave me experience of chemical, civil, aerospace, electrical and mechanical engineering. Mechanical was the most appealing, not only after playing with k'nex but because I understood that it covers a broad range of careers and would keep my options open.

In the summer between my third and fourth years, I had a placement at local engineering company Siemens VAI (metal technologies). This gave me a better idea of what engineers actually do on a daily basis, and also made me realise that steel was not an industry I wanted to enter!  It definitely helps if you can get some industry experience while you are at university - it is easier to get a job at this point as you are not expected to have prior experience, whereas many graduate employers will look for it. It shows you are serious about having a career in engineering by making the effort to gain experience.

During my final year I used to find engineering graduate schemes and Assystem was one of the many for which I applied. I was required to send a CV and cover letter, and after this stage I had a personal and technical interview. After this I was offered the job. 

At the moment I'm involved with producing a solution to a design problem on a gas turbine. This involves modelling, contacting stakeholders for buy-in, justifying the solution to seniors at design reviews and creating reports to show that all considerations and issues have been addressed.