Build your career in a direction you would never expect

Architecture and the Built Environment

University of the West of England

A new graduate conversion course is set to raise the profile of an engineering profession seldom in the limelight.

Building services engineers transform the empty shell of a building into the operational masterpieces we interact with every single day. They keep us comfortable, ensure we’re safe and engineer the flow of everything from water to data.

So how come you’ve never heard of them?

“Perhaps it’s because building services engineers don’t fit the stereotypical hard hat image of construction and engineering,” says Paul Kirby, programme leader for Architecture and Environmental Engineering at The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol).

“They are the brains behind functionality: the people we depend on for domestic, commercial and industrial buildings that are not only habitable, but useful to the people who occupy them.”
A profession underpinned by engineering and science, building services engineers mastermind the design, installation and running of everything from energy-efficient heating to airflow systems in controlled environments; lifts and fire escape routes for shopping centres to the acoustic requirements of a theatre in a listed building.

“One of the key attractions of building services engineering is the wide variety of roles on offer, from computer-based analysis and design work to overseeing installations on site and finding solutions to problems as part of a wider team of architects, clients and other professionals,” explains Paul.
“When students realise what’s involved, often the penny drops in terms of what they want to do with their careers. It’s a very rewarding profession with diverse niches to find a home in, stimulating intellectual challenges and good prospects.”

UWE Bristol has a strong employability track record for its two related undergraduate degree courses – Architecture and Environmental Engineering, and Building Services Engineering – both of which have full professional accreditation and give firm foundations to the new masters’ conversion route being launched this September.

The MSc Building Services Engineering award has won part of a £1.7 million injection from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and will allow graduates in other subject areas to become skilled practitioners and seek employment in an industry hungry for young creative talent.
Paul Kirby anticipates interest from a broad spectrum of students and a positive response from employers eager to recruit people with specialist skills.

“Just as there’s no definitive job description for a building services engineer, so there’s no typical student for our courses,” he says.
“You can’t escape the maths element and many will have a mixed science and technology background, but there are openings for pure scientists alongside those who have already studied subjects like mechanical, electronic or civil engineering. The same goes for students whose pursuit of different interests at undergraduate level has given them the analytical and creative skills which building services demands.”

So if you’re a graduate with a degree in a technological subject, maths, or science and you’re considering your career options, why not find out more today. Applications are now open.