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Job Photographs

  • A man is sitting at a desk, speaking on a telephone.  Behind him are two computer monitors.

    Checking out a specification with a colleague in another department.

  • A man is sitting at a table, with some large sheets of white paper on it.  He is using a calculator.  Behind him are two computer screens.

    Checking calculations on a design sketch.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer with two monitors.

    Using computers to help with design problems.

  • Two men are at a desk, one is standing and the other is sitting.  They are looking at some large sheets of white paper, which are laid out on the desk.  There are two computer monitors behind them and some filing cabinets.

    Talking over the designs with another engineer.

  • Control System Engineers design and install control systems that check industrial and manufacturing processes are working accurately

  • Control Systems Engineer

Control Systems Engineer

Introduction

As a Control System Engineer, you will be responsible for the design and installation of a control system, which checks that industrial and manufacturing machinery is working accurately, safely and efficiently. You will play a vital role in the manufacturing process.

Also known as

  • Engineer, Control
  • Automotive Control Systems Engineer

Work Activities

As a Control System Engineer, you will be responsible for the design and installation of a control system, which checks that industrial and manufacturing machinery is working accurately, safely and efficiently.

For example, you might be working on a control system which makes sure that a certain peice of machinery cannot function unless the correct safety guards are being used.

Other examples include measuring temperatures in jet engines, and the flow of oil or gas in pipelines.

You will need great IT skills, including programming, as the control systems you operate will use specialist hardware and software.

When designing a control system, you will need an in-depth understanding of the area your system will be operating in. This is likely to involve talking to staff currently operating the equipment, and perhaps the Engineers who designed it.

Once a system is installed, and you have successfully carried out performance tests, you'll train staff how to use the system and to deal with any problems that may arise. You will also be responsible developing training manuals, and a knowledge base of known technical and support issues.

You will often be working as part of a team, often consisting of Engineers from many different disciplines.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Control Systems Engineer, you need:

  • IT skills, including programming - particularly in control systems software
  • network design skills and knowledge of engineering systems
  • system testing skills
  • to be willing to keep up to date with advances in technology in this fast-changing area
  • the ability to work to strict deadlines

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates below are approximate:

  • Starting: £31,000 - £34,000
  • With experience: £37,000 - £43,500
  • Senior Control Systems Engineers earn £47,000 - £51,000

Hours of work

You will most likely work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Occasional late finishes and weekend work may be required.

Where could I work?

Employers include manufacturing firms in the following industries:

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • construction
  • electrical
  • building services
  • manufacturing
  • oil and gas

Opportunities occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

This career could involve working for a agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.

Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/engineering/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Most employers will expect you to have a degree before entering this career in control systems engineering. HNDs, HNCs and degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities. In order to get onto one of these courses, you will usually need at least two A levels.

You might be able to get onto a Higher Level  or Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Work Experience

Previous experience in a engineering or construction role will really help you get into this career.

Progression

Depending on the qualification, Control Systems Engineers can progress by taking on more responsibility for the management of engineering projects and teams of Engineers.

Some engineers choose to become self-employed or take contract work on a freelance basis.

Qualifications

To enter a relevant degree course, the usual requirements are:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs in your A level subjects at grade C/4 or above
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above
  • English, maths and a science subject are usually required at GCSE at grade C/4 or above

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Teesside University offers an HNC and degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering, by part-time study.

Training

Information on pathways to registration as a Chartered (CEng) or Incorporated (IEng) Engineer can be found on the Engineering Council's website.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship for higher education study in control and instrumentation engineering is available from the larger engineering and manufacturing companies.

Funding

Funding for postgraduate courses is available through universities from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Statistics

  • 6% of people in occupations such as this work part-time.
  • 17% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Professional institutions

Professional institutions have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Semta

Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001

Email: customerservices@semta.org.uk

Website: www.semta.org.uk

The Engineer

Engineering technology news

Email: customerservices@theengineer.co.uk

Website: www.theengineer.co.uk

Tomorrow's Engineers

Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering

Email: contactus@tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Website: www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Engineer Jobs

Publisher: Venture Marketing Group

Email: ner@vmgl.com

Website: www.engineerjobs.co.uk

Getting into Engineering Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman

Website: www.mpw.ac.uk/university-guides/getting-into/engineering-courses/

Scottish Engineering

Scottish enquiries

Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL

Tel: 0141 2213181

Email: consult@scottishengineering.org.uk

Website: www.scottishengineering.org.uk

Engineering Council

Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX

Tel: 020 3206 0500

Website: www.engc.org.uk

Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH

Tel: 028 9182 2377

Email: info@etcni.org.uk

Website: www.etcni.org.uk

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Address: Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AY

Tel: 01438 313311

Email: postmaster@theiet.org

Website: www.theiet.org

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Address: Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1ET

Tel: 01793 444000

Website: www.epsrc.ac.uk

Teesside University Open Learning (Engineering)

Address: School of Science & Engineering, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, Tees Valley TS1 3BA

Tel: 01642 342740

Email: tuole@tees.ac.uk

Website: www.tees.ac.uk/schools/sse/tuol/

Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers

Address: Scientific Instrument Makers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London SE1 9DD

Tel: 020 7407 4832

Email: theclerk@wcsim.co.uk

Website: www.wcsim.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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