Plant fitters repair, service and maintain light and heavy plant equipment. This includes machinery such as bulldozers, cranes, diggers and fabrication machinery as well as smaller items such as air compressors, pumps and generators.
You could be:
dealing with all aspects of the equipment: electrical, electronic, mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic
doing regular servicing, checking for damage or wear and tear and making adjustments
finding the cause of breakdowns using manuals, worksheets and technical drawings
using computer diagnostic equipment to find faults in complex machinery
using various hand and power tools, as well as welding gear and electrical testing equipment
repairing or replacing damaged parts and reassembling and testing the machine
completing daily log sheets, listing work done and time spent on it.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay for an apprentice is often based around the National Minimum Wage. At present the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.30 an hour (1 April 2021).
The starting salary for a qualified plant fitter is usually around £20,000 to £30,000 a year. A senior plant fitter can earn up to £40,000 or more. You can earn extra through overtime and other allowances.
You might work on construction sites and be outdoors in all weathers.
At other times you might work in a workshop where conditions might be noisy, dirty and oily.
You might have to work at heights, for example on cranes.
You may have to bend, stretch and lift heavy machinery parts.
You would usually have to wear a protective helmet, boots and safety glasses.
Overtime working, including weekends, is common and you may work nightshifts.
You may have to travel from one site to another to service machines.
Most entrants start through a Modern Apprenticeship. Many employers look for 3-4 subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
You could complete an Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship (FA), which may be an advantage to getting a Modern Apprenticeship. You can start in S5 and study at school and college. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually need 3 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. Some colleges also ask for Physics.
You may have to sit an entry test to see how suited you are to this type of work.
You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent if you work on construction sites. You will need to pass the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Health, Safety and Environment Test and have a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) certificate.
You might also need to have the Client Contractor National Safety Group (CCNSG) Safety Passport. See the Electrical Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) website for more details.
You should have good general health and be physically fit, as this can be a very active and strenuous job.
A full UK driving licence is usually essential and a special category of licence for driving heavy vehicles is sometimes required.
Certain colour vision conditions may affect careers in this branch of engineering.
Construction plant mechanics are employed by civil engineering companies, building contractors, suppliers and distributors of plant equipment and plant hire companies.
CITB is the Sector Skills Council which covers a wide range of sectors in the development and maintenance of the built environment. Its careers website (bconstructive.co.uk) provides a wide range of information on jobs in the construction industry.