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Topic Title: Late / mature entry to engineering
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Created On: 28 November 2013 04:39 PM
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 28 November 2013 04:39 PM
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Joined: 28 November 2013


I'm looking at a few career change options and engineering is top of my list terms of interest. Ideally I'd like to be involved in some form of project engineering in the energy industry. Why am I looking to move ? I've been quite successful in my current industry but I have absolutely no passion for it other than I'm pretty good at it and it pays well. I can't see myself doing it for the next 20 years without losing the will to live !

Obviously any career switch at my age (early 40's) is going to be tough and all of the options I'm looking into have challenges. I know the other 2 areas I'm looking at quite well so have a fair understanding of how difficult it will be to get a foot on the ladder in those industries, but I can't find any figures etc on engineering other than it's tough !

My background is in finance and banking, mostly in a client relationship management roll. Over the last couple of years I've managed a few projects relating to changing IT systems, customer interaction etc. Educationally my degree is in Business Studies and I also have an MBA. I've just completed the intro cert with the Ass Project Managers which helped with some of the things I was working on. If I pursue engineering the next step will probably be BEng with Open University and I'm also going to try and pick up a couple of more project management qualifications.

I'd be grateful for any honest comment or advice on the prospect of a successful move to engineering

 28 November 2013 10:26 PM
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Far be it for me to sound discouraging, and I admire your effort to change course, but I think in view of your age you have taken on a tough and rough task. That it is perfectly possible was demonstrated by my late brother-in-law who must have been around the age of 40 when he quit his job in a bank, learned the art of metal bashing and retired as a chargehand airframe fitter in the air transport business - there can be few more exacting jobs?

I fear that you will be against a lot of professional snobbery but then that is not confined to engineering. The real problem I think is that engineering is possibly more than half practical learning and, whether you choose to be a practical engineer or a theoretical engineer it is a truth that as you learn so you will grow beyond the employable age.

Myself I changed horses in my early thirties when I switched from studio television work to teaching in the form of writing technical instructions; in that adventure I am the first to admit to having a lot of luck - I was the right bloke in the right place at the right time. There is no better way of learning anything at all than by teaching it; that way you quickly become aware of that which you do NOT know. When confronted by young minds eager for information you most certainly cannot hide behind a barrage of brown stuff!!

I can certainly help you in getting to grips with electronics if you have time - a commodity which I lack in spades. But in the greater depths of general engineering I fear you will find me lacking - too much water under a bridge too far :-)

Ken Green
 10 December 2013 07:36 PM
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There are a lot of project/ programme managers out there who have no idea about the field that they are in, they just know how to push people into doing things on time and tracking activities.
One week it could be a railway station, the next month a national rollout of something. Half the time the task is more like being the client in the clients abscence, and getting the best results possible, but there will always be the contractors that try and BS the PM if they sense they dont have a background in that field, so watch out.

Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry

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