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Engineering Construction Technician

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

Engineering Construction Technician

The Work

Engineering construction technicians design, build and maintain buildings and machinery in industries like oil, petrochemicals, power and construction.

As a technician, your work would fall into one of the following areas:

  • planning and design using computer aided design (CAD) software to draw up plans, showing the measurements and layout of projects
  • fabrication and assembly cutting and welding pipework, and putting up the steel columns and beams of a building's framework
  • fitting and maintenance installing and servicing equipment in factories and industrial sites, such as conveyor lines
  • inspection and testing checking for faults in machinery, and testing newly installed systems.

Your other responsibilities could include supervising a team of craftspeople, scheduling work and dealing with administrative records. You might also do related tasks, such as estimating, buying and quality control.

Hours and Environment

You would usually work a basic 38-hour week. The exact hours might be flexible, depending on the type of work and deadlines.

You could be based in an office or on site. You would travel between sites and some contracts may involve working away from home for many weeks at a time.

Skills and Interests


  • a flair for maths, science and IT
  • a working knowledge of CAD software and good freehand drawing skills
  • the ability to read technical plans
  • an understanding of construction methods
  • organisational skills and the ability to prioritise workloads
  • good communications skills
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • an awareness of health and safety issues.

Entry

You may be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme. To get on to a scheme, you would usually need at least three GCSEs (grades A-C), in subjects like maths, English, science, design and technology, or equivalent qualifications. See the Goengineer website for more details about technician Apprenticeships.

Alternatively, you could take a college course which would teach you some of the skills needed for the job. Relevant courses include:

  • BTEC Certificate and Diploma in Operations and Maintenance Engineering (contains options in mechanical, electrical, electronic and manufacturing engineering)
  • BTEC Certificate and Diploma in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Engineering (2800) Level 3.

If you want to specialise in design work, you could take a course like the City & Guilds Certificate in 2D or 3D Computer Aided Design (4353). The job profile for CAD Technician has more information about this option.

For more details about careers in this field, check the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) website. The Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland) has careers and course information for that region

Training

You could work towards an NVQ at Level 3, choosing one which most closely matches your job role. Options include:

  • Maintaining Plant and Systems (Mechanical, Instrument Pipefitting or Instruments and Control)
  • Constructing Capital Plant Steel Structures (Erecting)
  • Installing Plant and Systems (Mechanical, Pipefitting or Instrument Pipefitting)
  • Welding (Plate or Pipework)
  • Non-Destructive Testing
  • Design and Draughting.

The Level 3 NVQ includes the CCNSG Safety Passport (Client/Contractor National Safety Group). The passport covers 10 units, including health and safety law, fire precautions, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) principles and first aid. You can find information about the award and a list of training providers on the ECITB's CCNSG website.

You could improve your career prospects by taking a foundation degree or a BTEC HNC/HND in engineering. Courses have options covering manufacturing, operations, electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering. Visit the UCAS website to search for colleges and universities offering these courses.

If your job involves welding, you could take further training in specialised welding methods through the Welding Institute (TWI). See the related job profile for Welder or contact TWI.

With experience and a level three qualification, you could improve your career prospects by registering with the Engineering Council to gain EngTech status. See the Engineering Council website for details.

Opportunities

You can find opportunities throughout the UK, offshore and abroad.

With experience, you could progress to site management jobs or specialise in particular areas, for example engineering design, testing or procurement.

With further study up to degree level, you could eventually qualify as an engineer.

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

SCENTA
JustEngineers.net
The Engineer Online

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

Annual Income


  • Starting salaries can be between 13,000 and 17,500 a year.
  • Experienced technicians can earn between 20,000 and 30,000 a year.
  • Senior technicians can earn over 33,000 a year.

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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