Skills that could be your ticket around the world

Travel is one attraction of a career in engineering and one that an industry blighted by a shortage of talented recruits is keen to highlight.

Travel is one attraction of a career in engineering and one that an industry blighted by a shortage of talented recruits is keen to highlight.

"Travel opportunities are an attraction for young people," says John Bristow of Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing, which is keen to boost numbers in an industry facing a looming skills shortage. "And engineering isn't just about building oil rigs and motorways. Engineers provide practical help to people and the environment all over the world."

In fact engineers are often on the front line of any humanitarian relief effort, putting their knowledge and skills to good use to provide practical assistance where it's most needed. The charity RedR, for example, founded in 1979 by civil engineer Peter Guthrie, is a database of registered engineers who can be called on at short notice to work for up to three months with front-line relief agencies.

RedR engineers are at the heart of the post-tsunami reconstruction effort in Asia, for example, providing emergency water and sanitation supplies and also tackling the longer term multi-billion dollar task of rebuilding these stricken countries. "There's a huge requirement for sanitation, water, housing and roads, and this stuff is the bread and butter of civil engineering," says Jon Prichard of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

And it's not just civil engineers who count in relief situations: electrical engineers can provide lighting systems for displaced persons in the desert while chemical engineers may be called in to help sort out environmental disasters.

The nature of engineering work in the UK is also opening up travel opportunities for young engineers. Many UK-based engineering firms are moving up the value chain into project management - and many of those big value projects are based overseas.

Amec, for example, which now bills itself as a project management and services company, has operations in 700 locations stretching from the Australian outback to the Arctic. Atkins is also in the brains end of the business with offices across the Middle East, US, Europe and Asia Pacific. "We have two main growth areas," says Alun Griffiths, group HR director at Atkins Global. "In the Middle East, where we have a significant presence in the Emirates and Gulf States, there is some quite innovative architecture and engineering underway. The other key area for us is China, where we have 600 staff in four key cities and which we see as a platform for further expansion there."

Engineers can find themselves clocking up the air miles as they travel from project to project. Anneeza Abdul-Ghani, for example, is a technical health, safety and environment consultant at Shell Global Solutions International, a career that has taken her all over the world, including the UK, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Germany. "I travel a lot and sometimes it's more than I would like because I have three children and a husband in the Netherlands," she says. "They're not always so happy about it but it is the nature of this job."

Will Myles, who works in the management consultancy arm of Atkins, has worked in Indonesia, Australia and the UK and his first job on graduation involved developing the infrastructure at Hong Kong International Airport.

If you're keen to add new stamps to your passport, then maybe a career in engineering could be the ticket for you.

Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Year 6 Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + D.O.E - Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone:...

NQT Supply Teachers

£80 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: NQTs required for short and lo...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home