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Advice for graduate engineers

Once you've finished studying and you become a graduate member, ICE will guide you through the next stage of your career.

Find out what you need to do to become professionally qualified, so you can get that dream job and how you can increase your skills and experience.

Become professionally qualified

Do you have a civil engineering qualification (degree, foundation degree, diploma or higher certificate)? Have you recently graduated? Are you working in the industry?

If the answer is yes to any of these, ICE can help to move your career forward.

How to become professionally qualified

Approved employers and job opportunities

Getting your first civil engineering job is an important step - it means you've broken into the industry.

Your employer has an important part to play too - in supporting you to develop your knowledge and experience.

So, both your first job and first employer could help to shape the rest of your career.

When you're ready to start looking for that new job, you won't have to go far.

We list the latest job vacancies, so you can search for positions that match your preferred location, industry sector and salary.

Once you're in work, there's a good chance you'll be able to get training through your employer.

ICE has approved over 450 company Training Schemes. These schemes help young engineers to get the experience required to become professionally qualified.

Search for approved employers

How can I check if my course is accredited?

If you went to a UK university or college, simply search for your course on our online database and we'll tell you straightaway if it's accredited by Joint Board of Moderators (JBM).

You'll also find details of courses that are covered by international agreements like the Washington Accord, FEANI and EUR-ACE.

Search your course

Further learning

There could be many reasons for doing other qualifications. You might want to improve your job prospects or take your career in a different direction.

If you do plan to study again, it's worth considering a course that will also contribute to professional membership with ICE.

This stage of the ICE membership process is called 'Further learning'. It bridges the gap between your existing qualifications and any others you need to apply for a particular grade of membership.

Courses are normally run by universities but can (in some cases) be done at work.

Find out more about Further Learning

International opportunities

Civil engineering offers lots of opportunities to work and gain experience overseas. However, there are various factors to consider before deciding on a location, and the type of role that’s right for you.

Being familiar with the world's economic situation is useful. It will give you a good idea where construction projects are taking place and where jobs are available.

Some countries will only accept experienced and fully qualified engineers; however, situations often change as demand for engineers increases.

Searching recruitment websites will also highlight the regions and sectors with the most job opportunities.

You won't always be able to identify the company from a job advert, but it should be simple enough to find out which firms operate in those areas.

It's worth remembering that some companies may have local subsidiaries trading under different names, so you may need to do a little extra research to find out who they are.

You'll also need to search for companies' local web pages, as the UK versions may not include the jobs you're interested in.

It shouldn't take long to draw up a list of companies that match your circumstances and operate in the sectors that interest you.

Start your search with ICE Recruit

Volunteering

Voluntary work has many benefits. You gain practical experience, develop as a professional and give up your time to areas that need it.

Placements usually come with a small wage, plus flight, accommodation and medical care. However, check the details of every placement through each agency as they may change with time.

These organisations could help you find volunteer opportunities overseas:

  • RedR - An international charity that provides training and recruitment services for the humanitarian sector, improving emergency response worldwide.
  • VSO - A dependent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries.

Skills and development

Even if you're not working in a civil engineering role, you can still develop experience and knowledge for use later in your career.

For example, you can work towards certain parts of the Initial Professional Development (IPD) stage of ICE membership, even if you're not in an engineering role.

Studying in your own time and attending ICE lectures can also be used as supporting evidence for certain aspects of your IPD.

As long as you record your IPD, you can build on it when you return to civil engineering.

Mentoring

If you've recently started work you could benefit from an experienced mentor to help you develop skills and experience.

Mentoring can be informal (E.g. advice when you need it), or formal (E.g. as part of a structured training programme).

Your employer may be able to arrange this.

General advice

Finding your first job can be a challenge, particularly in the current economic climate.

It's also difficult working out which type of role to go for, because these decisions can affect the rest of your life.

However, by thinking ahead and following some basic steps, you can really improve your chances of finding your ideal job.

Here are some tips:

  • Think about what you want to do, what kind of company you want to work for, and where you see this leading.
  • Decide how far you want to travel and whether you're prepared to move or even emigrate.
  • Consider taking a job within a different part of a key organisation. This will help you develop experience and gain inside knowledge of the company when the ideal job comes up.
  • Be flexible with the type of employment. As well as looking for a permanent role, you could consider short-term or part-time work. Even a period of voluntary or unpaid work could improve your CV and future prospects.
  • Build your networks - For example, keep in touch with colleagues from university, with recruitment company consultants and with people you meet at ICE events. Also, get in touch with your local ICE Regional Support Team. You never know where the next job opportunity might come up.
  • Contact different companies, even if they don’t have specific vacancies.

Improve your CV

An effective CV won’t guarantee success, but a poor CV can seriously reduce your chances.

So when writing your CV, bear these points in mind:

  • Be truthful - Highlight your strengths and key achievements.
  • Include your training and qualifications, in particular any modules or specialist areas of study, that relate to the role you're interested in.
  • Mention summer jobs or work placements, even if this experience is not directly related to civil engineering.
  • Present your skills and experience effectively. Get friends and family to read your CV. Ask them if it's well structured and if all the relevant information is included.

Do you have any questions?

If you need help with professional qualification, extra advice or guidance our membership team are here to help.