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Plant and mechanical engineer

Construction plant mechanic, plant engineer, mechanical engineer

As a plant and mechanical engineer, you will inspect, design, install, or repair machinery and equipment to ensure it is well maintained, working safely and running smoothly.

Average salary*

£25000

-

£50000

Typical hours per week

40 - 44

How to become a plant and mechanical engineer

There are several routes to becoming a plant and mechanical engineer. You could do a university degree, a college course, an apprenticeship or though on-the-job training. 

You should explore these routes to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

University

You could study for a foundation degree or higher national diploma in mechanical engineering.

To study for an undergraduate degree or higher national diploma you'll usually need:

  • 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 1 - 2 A levels, or equivalent.

> Equivalent entry requirements explained

> Find a university course

> Funding advice

College/training provider

To become a plant and mechanical engineer you could start by taking a course that will give you some of the skills needed for a trainee job after you finish. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance
  • Level 2 Diploma in Construction Plant or Machinery Maintenance
  • Level 3 Diploma in Plant Maintenance
  • Level 2 Certificate in Mechanical Engineering
  • Level 2 Diploma in Engineering Technology
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent (level 2 course)
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent (level 3 course).

> Equivalent entry requirements explained

> Find a course near you

> Funding advice

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship with a construction company is a good way into the industry.

You could complete an advanced apprenticeship in mechanical manufacturing engineering or engineering maintenance to become a plant and mechanical engineer.

You will need 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

> Find an apprenticeship near you

> Guide to apprenticeships

Work

If you have experience working as a mechanical engineer, you could apply directly to a construction company to gain onsite experience as a plant and mechanical engineer. You might start out as an assistant to a more experienced plant and mechanical engineer and progress as your abilities improve.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a plant and mechanical engineer. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

> Find out more about work experience

Skills 

Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a plant and mechanical engineer include: 

  • Ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • Knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • Maths knowledge
  • Design skills and knowledge
  • Ability to work well with your hands
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Practical skills for repairing and maintaining equipment.

What does a plant and mechanical engineer do?

As a plant and mechanical engineer, you will be responsible for designing, implementing, repairing and the general upkeep of plant machinery. This may involve investigating problems and coming up with solutions.

The role of a plant and mechanical engineer involves the following duties: 

  • Designing and implementing equipment modifications to help improve safety and reliability
  • Investigating and testing ideas to improve existing systems or to overcome machinery problems
  • Making parts and installing and testing machinery
  • Carrying out maintenance and identifying and repairing faults in equipment
  • Solving complex problems with manufacturing departments, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers
  • Managing projects
  • Planning and designing new production processes
  • Working with other professionals, within and outside the engineering sector
  • Monitoring and commissioning plant and systems.

How much could you earn as a plant and mechanical engineer?

The expected salary for a plant and mechanical engineer varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained plant and mechanical engineers can earn £25,000 - £30,000
  • Trained plant and mechanical engineers with some experience can earn £30,000 - £40,000
  • Senior plant and mechanical engineers can earn £40,000 - £50,000*.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Jobs

Check out the latest plant and mechanical engineer vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a plant and mechanical engineer, you could progress to become a transport manager or logistics and plant manager.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Plant and mechanical engineer Plant and Mechanical Engineers design, install and repair plant machinery and pa...
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  • Current role Logistics and Plant Manager A Logistics and Plant Manager in the construction industry is responsible for ov...
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  • Current role Transport manager Transport managers are responsible for ensuring that the legal requirements for ...
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