Mechanical engineering technician

Engineering
Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would design, install and fix industrial machinery so it is safe for people to use. You’d make sure that the equipment runs smoothly and meets performance targets.

You could work in a range of different industries.

If you work in manufacturing you could:

  • Build engine and gear components
  • Maintain conveyor and packaging equipment
  • Service the robotic machinery used on production lines

In the power, water and processing industries you could install and maintain industrial plant equipment, such as drives, valves and pumps for utility companies.

In building services you could service lifts and escalators and install heating and air conditioning systems.

If you work in transport you could repair mechanical parts on railway engines and signalling equipment.

You would:

  • Draw up plans for new ideas, using computer aided design (CAD) software
  • Investigate and test ideas to improve existing systems
  • Make parts and install them
  • Test instruments and machinery
  • Find solutions to overcome problems with machinery or processes
  • Maintain equipment and machines to prevent problems
  • Find and repair faults in equipment and machinery

You do tasks like welding and using computer controlled machinery tools.

As an experienced technician, you could take responsibility for:

  • Production planning
  • Purchasing
  • Estimating
  • Quality control

You could supervise craftspeople and follow health and safety rules.

You’d work closely with mechanical engineers so you’d need to understand engineering drawings and principles.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working week would be around 37 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday. In factory production you are likely to work shifts and be on-call for out-of-hours problems.

Environment

Your workplace could range from a quiet office, if doing CAD work, to a noisy factory production line, if carrying out essential maintenance. You might also work outdoors, servicing equipment and machinery on site. You would wear protective safety clothing such as overalls and safety boots for most jobs.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Working with your hands
  • Using computers
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Being logical
  • Solving mathematical problems
  • Planning and organising

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

You would need a Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Electrical Installation (SVQ level 3).  Or a National Certificate (SCQF level 7), a National Qualification (SCQF level 7), a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in Mechanical Engineering.

Employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4 to 6, in particular for entry to a Modern Apprenticeship.

You can enter some National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects, in particular physics (required by many courses and employers) 
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show understanding of the industry and practical skills such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4).