How To Become A Maintenance Engineer
A Sought After Profession
When things break, do you leave it alone hoping someone else will notice it and fix it for you, or are you the first person to be searching the house for the nearest screwdriver and spanner?
Are you one of those people that just has to take thing apart just to see how they work?
If you’ve got a flare for fixing thing and a genuine interest in engineering, you might want to consider a career as a maintenance engineer.
Maintenance engineers undertake scheduled and breakdown maintenance and repairs of engineering equipment and/or plant ensuring its continued smooth operation.
They typically work in multidisciplinary teams, playing a vital role in the efficiency, development and progress of manufacturing and processing industries and regularly liaise with manufacturing engineers, as well as design and technical specialists, to ensure the systems being utilised are safe, reliable and fit for purpose. They’re the ‘go-to person’ for dealing with mechanical faults, making them highly sought after within these industries.
So if this sounds like the career you’d like to pursue, how do you become a Maintenance Engineer?
What does a Maintenance Engineer do?
While it can be difficult to generalise, most maintenance engineers will be expected to:
- Plan and undertake scheduled maintenance
- Respond to breakdowns
- Diagnose and investigate faults
- Repair equipment
- Supervise engineering and technical staff, when in more senior roles
- Obtain specialist components, fixtures or fittings required to perform the job at hand
- Manage maintenance cost and budgets
- Manage stocks and supplies
- Ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation throughout
- Creating standardised maintenance procedures
- Upgrade and modify systems
- Monitor the performance of machinery and systems
- Fit and calibrate new parts and systems.
What hours do Maintenance Engineers work?
Most maintenance engineers are required to work 37 – 40-hour weeks, usually based at a manufacturing plant, warehouse or other production facility.
In cases where manufacturing equipment is in operation for 24 hours, 7 days a week, shift and on call work is likely to be required. This includes shifts that cover nights, weekends and early mornings.
What skills do Maintenance Engineers need to have?
- Great attention to detail.
- The ability to understand a range of engineering functions and procedures
- Excellent organisational skills.
- Ability to lead and motivate others.
- Exceptional diagnostic and problem-solving skills
- Good verbal and written communication skills
- Team player.
- Willing to show initiative.
- Ability to work well under pressure.
- A thorough and methodical approach to your work.
How much does a Maintenance Engineer earn?
Again, the salary of a maintenance engineer will vary depending on the size of the employer, location in the UK, working hours and so on, so the figures below are to be intended to be used as a guide only.
- Starting salaries for maintenance engineers are typically between £20,000 to £25,000.
- Rising to between £30,000 and £35,000 for mid-level maintenance engineers
- And with experience, current salaries can be seen at £40,000.
What qualifications do Maintenance Engineers require?
Although a degree isn’t an essential requirement for those wanting to become a maintenance engineer, graduates with a degree in a relevant discipline such as:
- electrical engineering
- manufacturing / process engineering
- production engineering
- mechanical engineering
are likely to be favoured by employers.
Some employers will accept college qualifications instead of a degree and related courses include:
- BTEC in operations and maintenance engineering
- City & Guilds cert in engineering.
It’s also possible for school leavers and those without related qualifications to become a maintenance engineer through an apprentice fitter or technician programme or Higher National Diploma (HND). Not all employers will offer this route into the profession, but those who do will expect you to attend additional courses and take further qualifications as you progress through your career.
What experience is required?
Employers place great value on work related experience as it shows that relevant skills and knowledge they’re looking for in their employees. Specific requirements can vary for each job and some employers may want you to have a multi-discipline approach to your engineering experience.
Is it the right job for me?
If you find yourself struggling to do more than one or two things at a time, have next to no practical ability or find the thought of working with heavy machinery and having to adhere to strict health and safety procedure repulsive then maybe this role isn’t quite right for you.
If you’re great at multitasking, enjoy making things work or understanding how they operate then this is a role you should definitely consider, plus when you’ve got a few years’ experience behind you, you may be able to move into related areas, such as technical sales, maintenance team management and contract management, so there’s lots of room to grow within and beyond the role.
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