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Plant mechanic

Plant mechanics repair and maintain heavy construction machinery so that projects can be completed efficiently and safely. As a plant mechanic, you’d conduct regular inspections on dumpers, excavators, cranes and more. You’d need a good understanding of how each machine works, and be able to repair them on-site or access replacement parts quickly.

Average salary*

£12000

-

£30000

Typical hours per week

42 - 44

Number employed in the UK

42,740

How to become a plant mechanic

You can gain the qualifications you need by doing a college course or an apprenticeship. You will also need to hold a full driving licence to work as a plant mechanic.

You may need Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) or Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) cards to work on a construction site. Find out more

College/training provider

You may need to go through a specialist college or training provider to gain the right qualifications.

You could study for a Level 2 Certificate in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance, Level 2 Diploma in Construction Plant or Machinery Maintenance or Level 3 Diploma in Plant Maintenance.

You’ll need:

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

> Find a course near you

> Funding advice

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship with a construction firm or plant hire company is a good way into the industry.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. To become a qualified plant mechanic you will need a full driving licence and your employer may require you to be over a certain age (18 or 25) for insurance purposes. As an apprentice, you will 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.

You could complete an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in Civil Engineering: Plant Maintenance.

You’ll need:

  • 1 - 4 GCSEs (including English and maths), or equivalent (intermediate apprenticeship)
  • 5 GCSEs (including English and maths) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent (advanced apprenticeship).

> Find an apprenticeship near you

> Guide to apprenticeships

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. Employers will always be pleased to see it listed on your CV. You may have experience of driving plant machinery or knowledge of motor vehicle engineering.

> Find out more about work experience

Skills

Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a plant mechanic include:

  • Able to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • Knowledge of engineering science, maths, and technology
  • Design skills and knowledge
  • Able to work well with your hands
  • Be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Able to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • Able to work well with others
  • Able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What does a plant mechanic do?

As a plant mechanic you will be responsible for inspecting machinery and ensuring that they are safe for use by repairing or maintaining them, often using specialist equipment.

The job role of a plant mechanic involves the following duties: 

  • Inspecting machines for defects, often using specialist computer equipment
  • Undertaking routine inspections of engines, gearboxes, hydraulics, electrical systems, tyres and frames
  • Dismantling and repairing or replacing faulty components
  • Reassembling and testing components to ensure they’re working safely
  • Checking new equipment before it’s used on site
  • Using reports to diagnose and find faults
  • Keeping records of work done to machinery
  • Explaining faults to colleagues and managers
  • Using a wide range of specialist hand and power tools, including sockets, spanners, screwdrivers, drills, lifting gear, and welding and cutting equipment
  • Working on building sites or in workshops, doing noisy, physically demanding and messy work.


How much could you earn as a plant mechanic?

The expected salary for a plant mechanic varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained plant mechanics can earn £20,000 - £30,000
  • Trained plant mechanics with some experience can earn £30,000 - £40,000
  • Senior plant mechanics can earn in excess of £40,000
  • Self-employed plant mechanics can set their own pay rates.*

Salaries 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 Mechanic 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

Construction technologies are advancing fast, so even experienced plant mechanics need to keep training to stay up to date.

With time you could become a plant technician or technical service provider. Alternatively, you could progress to be a plant or site manager, or supervisor and earn a higher salary.

Some plant mechanics go into teaching or set up their own business and work as subcontractors.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Plant mechanic Plant mechanics repair and maintain the giant machinery on building sites – incl...
    Read more
  • Current role Plant manager Plant managers are in charge of all the heavy machinery (plant) used on construc...
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  • Current role Instructor / assessor / tutor Further Education (FE) instructors, assessors and tutors teach construction skil...
    Read more
  • Current role Senior manager Senior managers and heads of department are responsible for leading teams of peo...
    Read more
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