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Mechanical Engineering Technician

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

Mechanical Engineering Technician

The Work

Mechanical engineering technicians design, build, operate and service plant machinery and parts. They use various skills in their work, for instance welding and CNC machining.

As a mechanical engineering technician, you could work in the following industries:

  • manufacturing building engine and gear components, maintaining conveyor and packaging equipment, and servicing robotic machinery on production lines
  • power and processing designing and making industrial plant equipment, such as valves and pumps for utility companies
  • building services servicing lifts and escalators, and installing heating and air conditioning systems
  • transport repairing mechanical parts on rail engines and signalling equipment.

Your duties could include:

  • drawing up plans for new ideas, using computer aided design (CAD) software
  • investigating and testing ideas to improve existing systems or to overcome machinery or process problems
  • making parts, and installing and testing instruments or machinery to make sure they run smoothly, safely and meet performance targets
  • carrying out preventative maintenance and identifying and repairing faults in equipment and machinery.

As an experienced technician, you might be responsible for production planning, purchasing, estimating, quality control, and supervising craftspeople.

Hours and Environment

Your working week would be around 37 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday. In factory production you are likely to work shifts and be on-call for out-of-hours problems.

Your workplace could range from a quiet office if carrying out CAD work, to a noisy factory production line if carrying out essential maintenance. Some of your work may be on outdoor sites.

Skills and Interests


  • practical and technical skills
  • ability in maths, science and IT
  • good communication skills
  • an understanding of engineering drawings and principles
  • the ability to work methodically and precisely
  • the ability to manage a varied workload in an efficient manner
  • good problem-solving skills
  • teamworking skills.

Entry

You may be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme with an engineering, manufacturing or transport operating company. 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. To find out more, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

To get on to an Apprenticeship, you may need four or five GCSEs (grades A-C) in subjects like maths, science, English, and design and technology. Some employers may ask for one or two A levels in maths and science or equivalent qualifications.

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

  • BTEC National Certificate and Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
  • BTEC National Certificate and Diploma in Operations & Maintenance Engineering (Mechanical)
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Engineering (2800).

You should check with local colleges for their exact entry requirements.

For more information about engineering careers, see the websites for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and SEMTA. The Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland) has careers and course information for the area.

Training

You could take work-based NVQ qualifications, depending on your industry. These include:

  • Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering levels 2 and 3
  • Engineering Maintenance and Installation (Mechanical) Level 2
  • Engineering Maintenance (Mechanical) Level 3
  • Engineering Maintenance (Lift Service/Lift Repair/Escalators) levels 2 and 3
  • Process Engineering Maintenance levels 2 and 3
  • Maintaining Plant and Systems (Mechanical) Level 3
  • Mechanical Engineering Services (options in Heating and Ventilation, Plumbing or Refrigeration and Air Conditioning) levels 2 and 3.

With a level 3 qualification, you could improve your career prospects by registering with the Engineering Council to gain EngTech status. See the Engineering Council website for more details.

You could eventually qualify as a mechanical engineer by working towards higher level qualifications, such as a BTEC HNC/HND or degree in mechanical engineering. For more details about this route, see the related profile for mechanical engineer.

Opportunities

Typical employers include local and central government, the armed services, manufacturers in all sectors and public utilities.

Your promotion options could include supervisory and management roles. You may also have the chance to specialise in a particular area of the job, such as computer aided design. With further training, you could eventually qualify as a mechanical engineer.

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

SCENTA
JustEngineers.net
The Engineer Online
Engineering Jobs Network

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

Annual Income


  • Starting salaries can be between 15,000 and 18,000 a year.
  • Experienced technicians can earn between 18,500 and 30,000.

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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