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How to become a Mechanical Engineering Technician

mechanical engineering technician careers

What does a Mechanical Engineering Technician do?

Mechanical engineering technicians, also known as mechanical fitters or installers, design, construct, operate and maintain plant and machinery, and the mechanical components within that machinery. Mechanical engineering technicians work in many sectors, for example:

  • manufacturing – constructing engine and gear components; building and maintaining conveyor and packaging equipment; servicing robotic machinery on a production line
  • power and processing – designing and making industrial plant machinery, such as valves and pumps for utility companies
  • building services – servicing lifts and escalators; installing heating and air conditioning systems
  • transport – repairing mechanical components on rail engines and signalling equipment.

Mechanical engineering technicians work on projects with other engineering craftspeople and technicians under the supervision of an engineer. They cover a variety of skill areas including welding, hydraulics, pneumatics, fluid mechanics, computer-aided design, CNC machining, and measurement and inspection. Increasingly, they need a broad knowledge of other disciplines such as electronics and electrical engineering.

Typical areas of work include:

Design - using computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw up plans for new prototypes, or to investigate potential performance enhancements by modifying existing designs.
Research and development – investigating and testing possible solutions to overcome machinery or process problems.
Construction, installation and operation – fabricating components, and installing, testing and adjusting instruments and machinery to ensure they are running smoothly and meeting performance targets.
Repair and maintenance – carrying out preventative maintenance schedules, diagnosing and rectifying faults in equipment and machinery.

Technicians may also have responsibility for supervising craftspeople and undertaking production planning, purchasing, estimating and quality control duties.

What's the working environment like working as a Mechanical Engineering Technician?

Mechanical engineering technicians work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, however, they may have to work overtime or shifts if the work relates closely to production. Technicians in a factory environment are likely to work shifts and be on-call.

Work environments can vary from a quiet office, if involved in CAD work, to a noisy factory production line carrying out essential maintenance. Some work may be on outdoor sites. Protective clothing is usually provided where necessary.

What does it take to become a Mechanical Engineering Technician?

To be a mechanical engineering technician, you should:

  • have good practical and technical skills
  • have an aptitude for maths, science and IT
  • have good communication skills
  • understand engineering drawings and principles
  • be able to work methodically and precisely
  • be able to manage a varied workload in an efficient manner
  • have good analytical skills
  • work well as part of a team
  • have initiative and be able to take responsibility.

Mechanical Engineering Technician Career Opportunities

There are opportunities for mechanical engineering technicians across a wide range of industries. Employers include local and central government departments, the armed services, manufacturers in all industries, research and development companies and public utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. There are also opportunities with manufacturers in materials development and design, marketing, selling and customer support.

Progression routes normally involve taking on supervisory and management duties. There may also be options to specialise in a particular aspect of the role, for instance, CAD work.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Mechanical Engineering Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
1 Birdcage Walk
Westminster
London
SW1H 9JJ
Tel: 020 7222 7899
www.imeche.org.uk

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

The Engineering Careers Information Service (ECIS)
www.enginuity.org.uk

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
London
SW1H 9HP
Tel: 020 7227 8421
www.wisecampaign.org.uk

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
Interpoint
20-24 York Street
Belfast
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878
www.etcni.org.uk

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
London
WC2R 3ER
Tel: 020 7240 7891
www.engc.org.uk
www.engtech.co.uk