maintenance engineer job description.

Where there’s machinery there’s maintenance. Much as we’d all like machines to carry on running forever with no problems we all know that never happens.

It’s highly irritating when your washing machine breaks down or your radiopacks up but if you’re the type of person who will pick up a screwdriver and give fixing it a go, you’ll probably enjoy the work of a maintenance engineer.

Day to day role.

Your day to day role will largely depend on the organisation you work for. You might work in a factory taking care of big plant machinery or you might work for a local authority dealing with maintenance issues in schools or council buildings.

The role of a maintenance engineer covers two major areas – regular maintenance to prevent breakdowns, and repair following breakdowns.  

What you will find yourself doing is fixing broken machinery, fitting new parts, carrying out routine maintenance such as cleaning, oiling or replacing worn parts, organising fitters, diagnosing faults and ensuring health and safety requirements are met.

Qualifications and experience.

The profession is open to both school leavers and university graduates. If you’re coming from university you’ll need a degree in a relevant engineering subject such as manufacturing, electrical, computer or mechanical. If you’re a school leaver you can study for a Higher National Diploma or join an apprenticeship scheme in engineering.  

Any experience you have, or work experience you can undertake, will greatly increase your chances of getting a job though this varies from employer to employer. Graduates will likely undertake experience as part of a degree. School leavers should apply to local firms for work experience.  

Fact: the average maintenance engineer earns between £20,000 and £24,000 though this can increase to £40,000 with experience.

Skills.

You’ll need strong technical skills to be able to understand all the engineering requirements of the job but equally you’ll need great people, communication and business skills too.

You’ll be responsible for managing teams, liaising with suppliers and working to budgets. 

Personality.

Methodical, logical and the ability to problem solve are key requirements for the role. But you also need to be able to remain calm under pressure.

It helps if you’re friendly and get on well with others because you will be dealing with not only other engineers and technicians, but management and outside contractors, negotiating and persuading them.

Opportunities.

Where you progress to ultimately depends on the industry you work in but you could specialise in one particular area, especially if the industry is highly technical.

You could become a maintenance manager, enjoying a less hands on role but leading teams of maintenance engineers and overseeing the work. 

Gaining chartered engineer status could also help you to progress or you could move laterally into technical sales or design. Alternatively, you might prefer a role as an engineering maintenance consultant.

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