Mechanical engineering technician

Mechanical technician

Career outlook for mechanical engineering technician

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


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.


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





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Implementing ideas

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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.

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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).