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Construction Plant Mechanic Profile

 
Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Construction Plant Mechanic. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Construction Plant Mechanic
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Construction Plant Mechanic Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Construction plant mechanics service, maintain and repair plant machinery such as 360-degree excavators, bulldozers, cranes and loading shovels, dump trucks, generators and compressors, and concrete mixers.

They are concerned with the inspection and maintenance engines, gearboxes, hydraulics, electrical systems and tyres. On large machines they also inspect the bucket (large front shovel), the back hoe (rear digger) and the outriggers (stabilising stands) that keep the machine level on soft or uneven ground.

When a machine breaks down on site they have to examine it, identify the fault, dismantle the relevant section and repair or replace the faulty parts. They then reassemble and test the machine to make sure it is working properly.

Plant mechanics use a range of hand and power tools and may also use specialist computer diagnostic equipment, as well as welding equipment and lifting gear.

Hours and Environment

Construction plant mechanics normally work a 40-hour week, Monday to Friday. Overtime is common, including weekends.

Work can be both outdoors on site in all weathers and in workshops. The work can be physically demanding and very dirty. Some work could be underground or involve working at great heights, for instance crane repair.

Construction plant mechanics often have to move from job to job, and can be based anywhere in the UK for many months at a time. A driving licence is helpful.

Skills and Interests

To be a construction plant mechanic, you should:

  • have good mechanical maintenance skills
  • be able to learn and apply technical knowledge and keep up to date with changing technology
  • have a methodical approach to solving problems
  • be aware of health and safety issues
  • be physically fit
  • have normal colour vision
  • be able to work alone without direct supervision.
  • A driving licence will be required to drive heavy vehicles on public roads.


Entry
 
The main way to start as a construction plant mechanic is with an employer as an apprentice, through a Modern Apprenticeship scheme. Most apprentices begin training at 16 to 18 years old, but you can join at up to 24. You will need four GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3), including maths and science or technology, or an appropriate Intermediate GNVQ/GSVQ level II.

Alternatives, such as a BTEC Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Repair and Technology (Heavy Vehicle), City and Guilds Vehicle Service and Repair (Heavy Vehicles) levels 2 and 3, or relevant SQA national certificate modules could be used as entry into this role.

You may also have to pass tests in technical and mechanical understanding, as well as in English and maths.

Related experience, such as engineering may be acceptable.

Training

Major construction and plant hire companies offer four-year apprenticeship schemes, where you undertake supervised work experience coupled with day or block release to local colleges or training providers. Training leads to NVQ/SVQ levels 2 and 3 in Plant Maintenance (Construction).

Course units include:

  • fault diagnosis
  • service, maintain and repair plant and equipment
  • conducting testing after repairs
  • dismantling and assembling plant and equipment components
  • use of fabrication techniques to make, modify or repair components
  • organise and control equipment and materials
  • provide technical advice to plant users.


The CITB also has two-year integrated plant mechanics courses at Bircham Newton and Glasgow, which lead to NVQ/SVQ levels 2 and 3 in Plant Maintenance (Construction); the course includes on-site experience as well as block release at local colleges.

For details on training, contact CITB-Construction Skills.

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) also offer an NVQ in Maintaining Plant and Systems (Mechanical) at Level 3 covering similar areas to those above. For more details, contact ECITB.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).

Opportunities

Plant mechanics are employed by large civil engineering contractors, plant hire companies, building contractors, service dealerships and distributors, and machine manufacturers.

It is possible to work abroad, particularly with large civil engineering contractors.

Possibilities for promotion varies between employers. Progression to plant technician, technical service representative, supervisor or management positions may be available.

With experience, self-employment as a plant mechanic may be an option.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only. The Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) sets out wage rates annually.

Salaries for trainee plant mechanics start at around £10,000.
Experienced plant mechanics can earn around £16,000.
Senior plant mechanics could earn up to £21,000.

Overtime and various allowances can significantly increase income. Those self-employed negotiate their own rates.

Further information

CITB-Construction Skills
Bircham Newton
King's Lynn
Norfolk
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577
www.citb.org.uk

Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)*
Blue Court
Church Lane
Kings Langley
Hertfordshire
WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000
www.ecitb.org.uk

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
Watford
Hertfordshire
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682
www.semta.org.uk

* PLEASE NOTE
National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website: www.ssda.org.uk

Other Useful Construction Plant Mechanic Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Construction Plant Mechanic job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Construction Plant Mechanic Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.


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