Design and development careers

Design and development roles include:-

  • Research – using modelling to work out whether new developments and innovations would work and be cost-effective
  • Design – turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes
  • Testing – collecting and analysing data from tests on prototypes
  • Making prototypes, modifying designs and re-testing.
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What skills do I need
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • A creative approach for new ideas
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD) software skills
  • Interest and skill in designing
  • Knowledge of the qualities of materials
  • Communication skills
  • Understanding of manufacturing processes and construction methods
  • Good team-working skills
  • Appreciation of wider business demands
  • Awareness of the environmental issues affecting design.
Below are Case Studies of successful people who followed this path.
Clement Howard – Senior Stress Engineer
A Levels > University > Masters > Employment

Clement is a university graduate with a masters in Aerospace Vehicle Design – he followed an academic pathway. Clement followed the same route as his dad who was also an engineer.

Why choose this route?

Clement did his A levels in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and AS level Electronics after school. The natural progression for him was to go to university as there were few engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship opportunities where he was living at the time. The degree covered a combination of theory and practical study. Clement completed some fabrication, welding and machinery training as part of his studies.

What happened?

Clement studied a BEng degree in Aerospace Engineering at university after his A levels. There were university fees to pay, but Clement worked part time to help pay off his fees and loans, living at home while studying at university also helped!

After completing his degree, Clement looked for sponsorship to continue studying to masters level and was successful in obtaining a grant to support his studies to cover tuition fees.

“I found it was easy to find a job after completing my degree – I worked at the university undertaking some research before starting full time work.” “The university degree tended to be quite practical and helped me to prepare for working life.”

After his masters Clement started work as a Senior Stress Engineer at United Technologies.

“I chose the academic route as I had lived outside England prior to doing my A levels and did not have much knowledge about the apprenticeship route. Also there were not so many apprenticeship opportunities in the London area – I felt comfortable taking the academic route and was able to live at home and have the support of my parents.”
Rob Taylor – Senior Design Engineer
Apprenticeship > Employment

Rob started off as a Craft Apprentice working on the shop floor doing various machine setting. He completed his City and Guilds qualification in Machine Shop and NVQ Level 3 in Manufacturing as part of his apprenticeship.

Why choose this route?

Originally Rob did his A levels after school and was planning to take the academic route and go to university. His father had worked in engineering for another large aerospace company which is why he considered the industry. “I am glad I chose an apprenticeship as I have spent 10 years doing the practical route - now I am actually a designer!”

What happened?

As Rob has progressed so well with his apprenticeship, he was asked by the training and development team whether he wanted to study further as he had shown a lot of promise. So Rob continued his career path and completed his ONC and HND qualifications.

Rob continued studying and completed his BEng in Mechanical Engineering. Rob has been with the company for 13 years and it has taken 10 years to complete all the studying and qualifications on a part time basis.

Rob now works as a Senior Design Engineer which includes CAD modelling, drafting drawings and compiling documents. He has moved away from the practical side of the role he started in but will still help out if needed – “I still enjoy the hands on side of things!”

“The degree has taken four years to complete studying part time – it can be tricky to find the time to work and study – but it’s been well worth it. I did consider a break before moving on to the degree but was discouraged from this and am glad I carried on.”

United technologies

United Technologies is a huge global company with two large sites in Wolverhampton. United Technologies design, develop and manufacture actuation systems and heat exchangers for a wide range of commercial aircraft and even Formula 1 cars. They supply to companies including Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, GKN, Boeing and Airbus. These systems are vital to flight safety and so have to be designed and developed to highest levels of quality and reliability. This includes assessing the product design for stress, temperature, performance and durability under all the operation conditions that the product may encounter over its lifetime.

Production processes and methods in the Black Country
Any company making a product has to design and develop it to ensure that the product meets the market needs, is safe, durable and performs as required. Other Black Country companies with design and development functions include:- Brandenburg Ltd, Cab Automotive Ltd, GFSA Ltd, Moog, NES Ltd, Phoenix Calibration Ltd, Exterran, Hadley Group, Mecatherm International Ltd, Thomas Dudley Ltd and Thompson Friction Welding Ltd.
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