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Plant mechanics repair and maintain the giant machinery on building sites – including concrete mixers, excavators, earth movers, cranes, bulldozers and dumper trucks.


Average salaries are in the region of £20,000.00 to £35,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Plant mechanics repair and maintain the giant machinery on building sites – including concrete mixers, excavators, earth movers, cranes, bulldozers and dumper trucks.

What they do

This is a physically demanding and rewarding job and plant mechanics are in demand across the industry. Skilled mechanics work on all the big vehicles and machinery (known as plant) used in construction. They work on building sites or in a workshop if they need specialist tools to do a repair.

Plant mechanics use a wide range of hand and power tools, including sockets, spanners, screwdrivers, drills, lifting gear, and welding and cutting equipment. Checking, testing and repairing machinery is also done with computerised fault-finding equipment.

Typical duties include:

  • Inspecting all mechanical parts, spotting any defects, dismantling and repairing or replacing faulty components
  • Reassembling and testing components to ensure they’re working safely in line with manufacturer specifications
  • Checking new equipment before it’s used on site
  • Using customer and operator reports to diagnose and find faults
  • Undertaking routine inspections of engines, gearboxes, hydraulics, electrical systems, tyres and the plants’ frame
  • Keeping comprehensive records of the work they do

Plant mechanics also arrange for machinery that can’t be fixed on site to be moved to the repair workshop. 

No two days are the same as plant mechanics can find themselves working underground in confined spaces to fix tunnelling equipment, or way up high keeping a tower crane in good condition.

Hours & Salary:

  • Trained with experience Plant Mechanics can earn in the region of £20,000 - £30,000
  • Senior Plant Mechanics can earn in the region of £30,000+
  • Self-employed Plant Mechanics can set their own pay rates

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


 

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Take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

I work for one of the largest independent surface dressing hire companies in the UK. Daily jobs can range from servicing to completing major jobs on machines. Servicing can be minor or major, minor being a check over, checking the oils and the machine in general. Major is changing the oils and checking the machine over. The time it takes depends on the type of service. Major jobs such as breakdowns can be as quick as a few hours to as long as a few days.

How did you get started?

I left high school in 2009 with 15 GCSEs. I then went on to study science at Fenton Sixth Form College and achieved three A-levels. During college I worked part time in my uncle’s café.

Growing up around farm machinery I’ve always had a fascination with how machines work. For my sixteenth birthday my parents brought me a 1994 Austin mini, and late nights spent doing this up made me determined that I wanted to do something like this as a job.

After A-levels I didn’t want to carry on with science, I wanted to do engineering. I applied to Reaseheath College to do a full time course or an apprenticeship for plant maintenance/mechanics. I sent my CV to around 50 companies, some local and some as far away as Liverpool, hoping for something.

I received many rejection letters and many didn’t even reply but then I received a letter from Clee Hill Plant offering me an interview. During the interview I think I changed a few opinions about women doing this type of role. A week later I received a phone call offering me the job, I couldn’t believe it. I think I have proved many people wrong about women doing this job and my fight to get it was worth it.

What do you enjoy about your job?

With the wide variety of machines within the company the learning never stops. Every day is different. I love being hands on and I’m not afraid to get dirty. I love seeing how the machines work and how to fix them if they break down. I take pride in my work and I get praised for the work I complete. If I ever get stuck or don’t know how to do a job there is always someone who is happy to help out and point me in the right direction.

What skills do you need?

To be successful in this job you need to be a good listener and able to follow instructions. You can’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty as the job is very hands on. A good sense of humour also helps in this industry as there is always banter flying around the workshop.

Proudest career moment?

I’m Clee Hill Plant’s first female fitter/plant mechanic. Only a handful of women do this job in other companies and I’m proud to be one of them. All my hard work has paid off. I’ve proved that I’m capable of doing this job and nothing can stop me aiming higher in my career.

Big ambition?

I’ve achieved my NVQ Level 2 and I’m going on to do Level 3. Once I’ve finished this I’ll look into taking an advanced electrical course. Then I want my own pink company van and want to become a site fitter. I want to push myself to do all the courses I can so I become very knowledgeable and to be able to pass my knowledge on to up-and-coming apprentices.

Any advice about joining the construction industry?   

Do what I did and just go for it. If you have a passion for something, just do it. The construction industry always needs people to join and learn the hands on skills. If you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty and want to learn how to make or fix things and have a positive outcome at the end, the construction industry is the way to go. 

Qualifications & Training

There are no formal qualification requirements to train as a plant mechanic, although it would help to have GCSE grades A-C or Standard Grades in Maths and English. 

Employers like you to have some on-site experience so if you don’t have any, think about working as an assistant to start with. Your employer might then train you in plant mechanics.

An apprenticeship is a common way into a career as a plant mechanic. Entry to an apprenticeship scheme can involve taking a selection test. As an apprentice you’ll study towards NVQ/SVQ Level 2 and 3 and the course includes:

  • General plant
  • Powered access
  • Crane
  • Lift truck
  • Small plant and tool fitting

Apprentices learn a range of techniques from bench fitting and basic engineering skills to the latest in electro-hydraulics and computerised control systems.  

Plant mechanics working in more engineering-related environments can study the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board Level 3 NVQ in maintaining plant and systems (mechanical).

Even the most experienced plant mechanics attend specialist courses to keep up to date with technological advances in machinery. These are often run by machinery manufacturers.

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis.  

Looking for a vacancy?

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Indeed

Reed

Total Jobs

The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

 

Career trends and forecasts

2460 additional staff needed

According to the latest Construction Skills Network research, the UK construction industry will need an additional 2460 Plant Mechanics/Fitters every year for the period 2017 - 2021.  The highest demand will be in the South East followed by East England, North West, Wales and Scotland.

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Find out more about other roles in the construction industry and what they involve.

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