Engineers in the NHS maintain and repair a range of equipment and facilities from ambulances to dialysis machines to air conditioning units. All are vital to a high-quality NHS.
Training and qualifications required
To train as an engineer in the NHS, you need at least 3 GCSEs including English maths and science. Employers may ask for an engineering qualification and some engineering experience. This could be from an engineering apprenticeship, for example. Engineers can also join the NHS with an accredited engineering qualification, usually a degree or HND in a particular branch of engineering (electrical, mechanical or building services, for example). Employers usually ask for a qualification accredited by the Engineering Council.
Engineers joining the NHS will be given the training they need to start the job, covering procedures and systems, including IT systems, as well as health and safety. Qualified engineers can become members of the professional institution for their branch of engineering - and can apply for incorporated or chartered status.
Expected working hours and salary range
Engineers in the NHS are usually paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. Your precise pay depends on the level of your role, education, experience and level of responsibility. If you work in estates support, you could start in a post on AfC band 2. In estates maintenance, you could be on band 3 or 4. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions at bands 5 and above. Engineers in the NHS work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. They are likely to work shifts including nights and weekends. They may be part of an on-call rota for emergency cover. Terms and conditions will be different for engineers working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
To be an engineer in the NHS, you need Engineers need to be interested in knowing how things work, interested in continuing to learn, willing to work at heights or in confined spaces, physically fit for lifting, standing, etc, able to work responsibly without supervision, very health and safety conscious and willing to work in all areas of a hospital or health centre. You also need problem-solving skills, good manual (hand) skills and organisational skills.
With experience, engineers can apply to become team leaders supervising the work of a team of staff. They can progress to become managers, responsible for a department or area of operations, such as estates and facilities.