Selecting projects and activities for an Engineering and Manufacturing industry placement

The Engineering and Manufacturing world is ever-growing and has huge potential for industry placements.

This skill area will have 3 T Levels:

  • Design and Development
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair
  • Manufacturing, Processing and Control

Within these, the specialisms that students can pursue will be:

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic, Control and Instrumentation or Structural Engineer
  • Maintenance Engineering Technologies: Mechanical, Mechatronic, Electrical and Electronic or Control and Instrumentation
  • Maintenance, installation and repair: Vehicles and Energy and Utilities
  • Manufacturing, Processing and Control: Production Technologies, Manufacturing Technologies and Materials Technologies

Engineering and manufacturing working environments are incredibly diverse, with organisations of all sizes, and in all industries (Aerospace, Aviation, Automotive, Maritime Defence, Heavy Industry environments and the wider Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering industry, for example).

Identifying placement projects

Look for projects and activities for placement students that:

  • line up with your future skills needs and working practices
  • will attract and challenge students who are aiming for a career in engineering and manufacturing
  • will demand specific understanding and basic use of hand tools or equipment from students
  • provide opportunities for students to make a meaningful contribution to the work of the organisation, but recognising that they are likely to be new to the world of work and so need to be involved in lower risk or non-critical systems and processes
  • allow learning and contribution without being an added burden for their supervisors, or slowing down overall projects or business processes
  • equally important to the identification of what a student can do is the identification of what they cannot do. An information sheet outlining the limits of responsibility and actions a student can take should be discussed with the school or college. This will give clear guidance to the student and safeguard all parties.

We’ve described 3 example scenarios of projects and activities below. It is likely that the projects and activities listed will require that the student has support and supervision. We encourage you to think about placement opportunities that work for a student and your organisation.

You can use the planning the content of an industry placement article to structure industry placement projects and activities to provide meaningful experience for the student and to deliver tangible benefits for your organisation.

Industry placement example scenarios


Design and development trainee (Mechanical Engineering)

To support the design and development mechanical engineering team in using, interpreting and evaluating a range of engineering data sources and documentation to enable the production of engineering drawings, models and plans for simple mechanical projects (tasks would require working with the team, under supervision).

Projects and activities:

  • Analysing and interpreting technical information from plans, drawings, and specifications
  • Verifying the mechanical design technical data are compliant with context, function and specific requirements
  • Evaluating and comparing design and materials options
  • Producing drawings, models and simulations, using appropriate CAD software, or other digital technology for design options
  • Checking completed drawings for quality, technical compliance and completeness
  • Evaluating the project outcomes and assisting in communicating informed recommendations to stakeholders

Manufacturing trainee (Manufacturing Technologies)

To provide support for a team manufacturing an item, to enable completion and delivery to a client within a specified time frame (tasks would require working with the team, under supervision).

Projects and activities:

  • Interpreting plans and drawings, identifying technical information, materials, and methods
  • Identifying any issues and risks with resources, tools, equipment and machinery
  • Checking the availability and costs of tools and resources required and whether they meet the needs of clients
  • Providing a plan for setting up the work area, adjusting machines, measuring and marking out and dealing with waste
  • Undertaking fault finding and quality control procedures

Junior maintenance technician (Mechanical)

To support the Maintenance team in attending to the needs of plant machinery equipment to ensure continuous, uninterrupted and improved organisation productivity (tasks would require working with the team, under supervision).

Projects and activities:

  • Supporting pre job risk assessment and ensuring it is safe to undertake the task
  • Providing a plan for setting up and preparing the work area including selecting appropriate tools and test equipment that are to be used
  • Gathering technical data, service information, spares and parts
  • Replacing, repairing or installing as required to complete the task, including fault finding and returning the system to operations
  • Completing a post job debrief, communicating relevant information to stakeholders and completion of service records and records of tasks completed

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