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Topic Title: Career change
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Created On: 21 October 2012 05:25 PM
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 21 October 2012 05:25 PM
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batesy71

Posts: 3
Joined: 21 October 2012

I have recently been thinking about a change of career.
I am currently an automotive technician with almost 10 years of experience.

However, this was originally a stop gap for while I was at university to earn a bit of money.
Since graduating, I have gone through a hard time with the loss of a family member so didn't really pursue my intended career choice.
After some thinking these last few weeks, I have become very interested in the mechanical maintenance engineer/technician role.

I have no experience of the 'heavy' industry sector which they ask for.
Is there anything I could do go get into this industry?
At the age of 26 and being a home owner, an apprenticeship is out and only gaining a 3rd class honours at university, a graduate training scheme seems well out of reach.
 22 October 2012 09:20 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

First thing, don't be put off by adverts asking for experience of specific sectors. Ok, most of your applications for those jobs will go in the bin, but, as long as you can accept that as par for the course, sooner or later you are likely to get through at least to interview with one or two of your applications. The fact that you do have experience + degree (never mind what experience or degree) is putting you in a good position already.

Also, have you gained any experience of managing your own work or, even better, managing others? Bring that to the front if you have: in the sort of role you're looking staff who don't need heavy supervision are highly desirable.

I would suggest getting someone to check your CV before you send it out, when you have a "non-conventional" career background it can be very important to present it correctly. If you're an IET member you could ask for help from the Mentoring service with this. Otherwise ideally you want to find someone who employs engineers / technicians and ask them to have a look.

It sounds like you've got good stuff going for you: a higher level of education than normal for a technician, many years of experience, and a good reason for changing jobs. Just keep applying and don't worry if you get loads of rejections or "no response" - the right job's out there somewhere!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 22 October 2012 03:51 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

What was your degree in and why this interest in the mechanical maintenance?

Regards.
 22 October 2012 05:43 PM
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batesy71

Posts: 3
Joined: 21 October 2012

The degree was 'BSc Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies'.
My intended career choice was a commercial pilot. I managed to get all the way to flight school selection and passed but then i lost my father, so didn't feel I could go live away for a year straight after that. Since then, the cost has gone up further, so cannot fund it either.

Why the interest in mechanical maintenance? I am a very hands on person and I enjoy anything mechanical. I feel that albeit on a different scale, what I have gained from working as an automotive technician, could be transferred into this area.

With regards to having managed my own work or others. What I do generally is get given a job and am left to my own devices until it is completed, sometimes with a little bit of communication with the office or customer if anything comes up that wasn't expected and will cost them more.
There are times when I will ask for assistance and ask a colleague to follow what I say.

Alan
 23 October 2012 07:14 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

It is an interesting background but there is not a lot there which specifically says employ me as a mechanical technician unless it is in an area related to which you are already working. If for example you were going to specialise in pure mechanical then many employers would likely be looking for specialised mechanical qualifications and experience to support that, especially in today's job market. The more general mechanical technician roles tend to be multi skilled as it helps with health and safety legislation when having to work on electrics etc., and also means employers have people who can turn their hand to several different areas of work.

Your advantages however are that you have a good period of work experience and a good high level qualification and a good reason for having not followed up on the aviation studies....good for work of course and not good for personal reasons. Also you are currently able to apply whilst having a job and that is easier. My suggestion is that you find some technical staff agencies and speak to them about mechanical technician type jobs and let them take a look at your CV and advise you where you stand and where the gaps are, as they see things. Another suggestion could be to undertake a distance learning mechanical engineering HNC with someone like COLU, or another provider, and at the same time check if any of your BSc modules can be used for credit towards any of the HNC modules in order to reduce the number you have to study. This will also allow you to state to prospective employers you are persuing a high level mechanical qualification to re-enforce and channel your interest and work experience into the direction you want to follow....bla bla bla. Advertise your CV with someone like reed.co.uk and make it searchable and also apply for jobs which are aligned with what you are after and learn from any who turn you down and so on. At 26 your age does not present a barrier to the career change you want and neither does your current experience or qualification, I think you just need to support your aims with some particular study in that area as it will send a positive message to employers and which will compliment what you already have.

Regards.
 24 October 2012 07:42 PM
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batesy71

Posts: 3
Joined: 21 October 2012

Many thanks for your input.
I have been considering the HNC route. Just need to figure out how to finance it.

One further thing I am unsure about. When applying should I put into a cover letter or message to an employer that the reason for not perusing/continuing with the aviation route or any route for that matter, is to do with the family issues I went through. Would they maybe then be a bit more 'forgiving'?

Alan
 25 October 2012 11:44 AM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

You only need to finance one module at a time with COLU, which is run through the University of Teesside, and so you can go slowly at the start and then speed up if/when you change jobs and have more money. Basically work it out to suit, I think it will be an improvement to just be studying the HNC mechanical and you will not necessarily have to have completed it before someone offers you the type of job you want.

I would not worry too much about the not following up on the aviation route with regards to your applications, just appreciate it is a question which may come up at interview and prepare your answer. In that answer to do not get bogged down it negativity but instead turn it into a positive along the lines of my father passed away and needed to stay close and support my family at the time and whilst in some respects that was an emotional time in other respects it gave me time to re consider my career. If you now wish to be a mechanical technician your messages need to support that rather than be saying I am only here because I could not finance my commercial pilots studies etc. Maybe the question will not come up, but when people change careers there is often a question of why because many prospective employers are not going to want someone they think will just be changing again in another couple of years, for example. In essence critically analyse yourself from the employers position. You have a lot going for you so just add to that and be prepared for some questions with regards to the career change, but be positive about it.

Regards.
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