Engineers plan, design and manage construction projects. NHSScotland employs Engineers for the construction of new buildings, hospitals or other health facilities.

My name’s Phillip. I’m currently working at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital as a Maintenance Engineer.

Right from school, I went into college doing my HNC and that was in Engineering Systems. I was getting the academical side, but I was wanting hands on [experience], so I was asking people what's the best way to go about it and they mentioned [the] training place.

You need to know your fundamentals of your engineering, so [in] your first year, you're five days a week college based. When you go into your second year and you get your jobs, it could be helping out in the kitchens, fixing various things in there.

Obviously, as an Engineer, we maintain the boilers that provide the heat throughout the whole hospital. You need to keep on top of maintaining the boilers and making sure you're doing your regular checks and everything like that. I've got Joe, he's the main Engineer, so I'm with him day to day. He [allows me to] do most things and tells me if I'm doing it wrong. I find it better to learn that way, as I'm thrown in at the deep end.

I would recommend an NHS Apprenticeship, because they put you through all [of] your academical side, and I'm getting all the hands on work as well. They help you in whatever way they can to progress. I think it's a very good apprenticeship.

Engineers in the NHS can specialise in lots of different areas, such as electrical, mechanical, building services or biomedical.

You could be working as a:

  • Biomedical Engineer - maintaining and managing medical equipment in operating theatres, intensive care, neonatal units or accident and emergency
  • Plant Maintenance Engineer - making sure that water supplies and drainage, electrical systems, boilers and alarms are working well within NHS buildings
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Engineer - making sure all hospital areas are safe to use and kept at the right temperature to keep patients warm, or to ensure vital supplies are kept cool
  • Building Services Engineer - overseeing the installation and maintenance of systems within buildings, including lighting, lifts, communications and security

Useful skill include:

  • mathematical skills
  • problem solving skills
  • IT skills

Relevant interests:

  • Science or Engineering

Useful abilities:

  • scientific and technical aptitude
  • able to plan your own work and organise the work of others
  • able to work alone and also as part of a team
  • physically fit enough to get around building sites and climb on scaffolding

NHSScotland Engineers need an accredited engineering qualification, usually a degree or HNC in a particular branch of engineering (Electrical, Mechanical or Building Services, for example).

Employers usually ask for a qualification accredited by the Engineering Council. You can search for courses on their website.

Another entry route into an engineering career with NHSScotland is by doing a Modern Apprenticeship.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeships in Construction (Technical) at SVQF level 6 or Engineering Maintenance at SVQF level 7 are frameworks for people interested in working in engineering. Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website:

Healthcare Support (Non-clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is another framework for people interested in working in a healthcare setting in a non-clinical support role. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and you’ll be given the training you need for the job including:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • risk management
  • estates workbook

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, such as:

Visit the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website to find out more about the full range of qualifications for to people working in or seeking to work in the NHS in Scotland.

Career pathways

Engineers, like all the trade professions in NHSScotland, have the opportunity to move into higher management levels as their careers develop. You could progress to a job as a Higher Technician or a Site Manager or Head of Facilities. A Head of Facilities manages the whole team of Estates and Facilities staff across a health board.

Through gaining further experience and qualifications, engineers can apply for incorporated or chartered status. Incorporated and chartered engineers have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Learn more about the NHSScotland Estates and Facilities career pathways.

If you are an Engineer working in NHS Scotland there are several professionals you can join:

Each professional institution for Engineers runs courses, conferences and seminars where engineers can update their skills and network with others.