Scottish engineering largely focuses on the design and manufacturing of goods. Providing 159,100 jobs, the engineering industry will play a key role in helping us reach our net zero target.

Engineering is an ever evolving and exciting field to work in, with rising demand for employees at all levels in areas such as Marine, Transport and even Space!

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Your prospects as an engineer

As we shift to an electrical, battery and hydrogen-powered way of life, skilled engineers will be key to increasing our energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint.

Changes are needed to help us fuel, use and repair both new and existing equipment to make our processes greener. Technological innovations will help:

  • reduce waste
  • improve the capture of emissions
  • lower energy loss in manufacturing

Ultimately, engineering is at the forefront of the work Scotland is doing to lower its impact on the environment.


To make the most of the opportunities flowing from net zero, all engineering workers will need to be resilient and adaptable as the industry changes.

There’s good news if you currently work in engineering – you may already have many of the required skills to help the industry be greener.

New manufacturing processes and techniques will help us use natural resources more responsibly.

You could benefit from additional training as we see increased demand for design and technical skills that focus on using energy, and other resources, efficiently.


Eco-design roles are on the rise as Scotland aims to meet net zero through repurposing existing materials and machinery. This will involve dismantling products and restoring them to ‘good as new’ status or finding new uses for component parts elsewhere.

This is known as the Circular Economy.

As eco-design is a relatively new way of manufacturing, there will be of opportunities to work alongside engineers in various roles, such as:

  • designers
  • analytical experts
  • technicians
  • quality assessors

Circular economy opportunities

The re-manufacturing industry employs 19,000 people in Scotland. Re-manufacturing roles are ideal if you already work in the industry as they require a similar set of skills. 

There are lots of job opportunities in procurement and logistics. Product design is evolving as they now embrace designing for disassembly and re-manufacturing. 

Scotland’s circular economy strategy highlights that producer responsibility is crucial. This is an exciting time to work in engineering as you can influence the design of products and make them greener.

How to break into an engineering career

Intrigued? Let’s look how you can get involved in the engineering industry.


Apprenticeships in engineering are the perfect launchpad for a career within the sector.

Gain on-the-job experience while earning a qualification and a wage.

There are Modern and Graduate apprenticeships available in:

  • Engineering
  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Instrumentation, Measurement and Control

Academic routes

Studying at college or university is another fantastic route into engineering.

Scotland’s universities and colleges offer a host of engineering, design and manufacturing courses from NC, HNC and HND through to undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Green courses in engineering

Reed have a range of reasonably priced online courses on environmental engineering. You can take your new skills to an engineering role and help shape the machinery and processes that will benefit the climate of the future.

If you’d like to build on your knowledge of the environment, edX’s online environmental engineering courses could be just the thing. With modules ranging from the treatment of drinking water to sustainable urban development, you’ll be well equipped for a green engineering role.

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Further information

Scottish Engineering is the national trade body. Their website can point you in the direction of more useful industry training and events.

Explore other industries


The creation of low carbon transport brings opportunities to develop  new skills as part of the transition to net zero. 

Construction and built environment

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is essential to realising the net zero target for Scotland.  


Shifting from fossil fuels and heat for power to renewable and zero emissions energy sources will help Scotland realise its net zero goal.

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