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Construction Plant Mechanic

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Construction Plant Mechanic

The Work

Construction plant mechanics service and repair plant machinery, such as excavators (JCBs), bulldozers, cranes, dumper trucks, generators and concrete mixers.

As a plant mechanic, your work would involve:

  • regularly inspecting engines, gearboxes, hydraulics, electrical systems and tyres
  • identifying faults, dismantling parts and repairing or replacing faulty parts
  • reassembling parts and testing them to make sure they are working properly and safely
  • arranging for machinery that cannot be fixed on site to be moved to the repair workshop.

You would use various hand and power tools in your job, as well as specialist computer fault-finding equipment, welding equipment and lifting gear.

Hours and Environment

You would normally work 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime is common, including weekends.

Your time would be split between a workshop and sitework. The job can be physically demanding and some of your work may be underground or at heights, for instance when repairing cranes.

You would usually have to travel from job to job, and you could be working away from home for weeks at a time.

Skills and Interests


  • excellent mechanical maintenance skills
  • a willingness to keep up to date with changing technology
  • a methodical approach to solving problems
  • an awareness of health and safety issues
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • the ability to work alone without direct supervision.

Entry

You may be able to start work as a trainee mechanic on an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

Alternatively you could take a college course in vehicle mechanics before looking for work, such as:

  • City & Guilds Vehicle Maintenance and Repair (4101)
  • BTEC National Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Technology.

You would need normal colour vision. A driving licence may be necessary for some jobs.

You may have an advantage when looking for work if you have experience or qualifications in LGV mechanics or mechanical and electrical engineering maintenance. See the profile for Engineering Maintenance Fitter for more details about this role.

For more general information about careers in this field, visit the ConstructionSkills website and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) website.

Training

You would usually train under the supervision of an experienced mechanic, with day or block release to a local college or training provider. You may be able to take the NVQ in Plant Maintenance at levels 1 to 3. Units include:

  • identifying faults
  • servicing, maintaining and repairing plant and equipment
  • testing repairs
  • dismantling and assembling plant and equipment parts
  • providing technical advice to construction plant users.

Depending on your job role, you could also work towards the NVQ in Maintaining Plant and Systems (Mechanical) at Level 3, which covers similar areas to the NVQ above. For more details, contact the ECITB.

You could continue to improve your skills and knowledge by attending specialist training courses offered by manufacturers of machinery.

Safety Passport (CCNSG)
The ECITB has information about a range of work-based training programmes for employees, including the two-day Safety Passport (CCNSG - Client/Contractor National Safety Group). See the CCNSG website for more details and a list of training providers.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors now insist that you have a CSCS card to work on their sites. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have an NVQ or equivalent qualification.

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS or SkillsDirect for further details.

Opportunities

You could work for civil engineering or building contractors, plant hire companies, service dealerships and distributors and machine manufacturers.

With experience, you could progress to construction plant technician, technical service representative, site supervisor or site manager. You could also set up your own business.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open in new window):

bConstructive
Construction Jobs Network 
Directgov (Jobseekers page)

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income


  • Trainees can earn around 12,000 a year.
  • Experienced plant mechanics can earn between 15,000 and 25,000.
  • Plant workshop managers can earn between 20,000 and 30,000.

Overtime and various allowances can increase these amounts. Self-employed plant mechanics negotiate their own pay rates.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
 

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