According to a collaborative survey conducted recently by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Bosch Rexroth, around 66 percent of the participating manufacturers said they now have more equipment to maintain, while around 75 percent admitted having more complex machinery compared to five years ago. Increasing need for equipment maintenance means that the United Kingdom needs more maintenance engineers, but the concern over engineering skills shortage could persist into the near future. In fact, the UK needs more than one million engineers and technicians by 2020, says the Royal Academy of Engineering. Quite evidently, the country holds a lot of promises for aspiring maintenance engineers. If you are planning a career in this field, you may be on the right track. But before you make a final decision, you should know a few things about the specific of this profession.
Job DescriptionMaintenance engineers are responsible for performing preventive maintenance checks and services on engineering equipment and machinery and carrying out repairs to ensure smooth running of a production or manufacturing process. As a maintenance engineer, you may also need to control and monitor machinery and manufacture tools that would help in maintenance. Depending on the industry and the company you are working for, you may need to work on aircraft machinery, laboratory equipment, manufacturing tools, hydro-electric equipment and transport systems. Broadly, maintenance engineering tasks can be segregated in two categories – preventive maintenance and emergency maintenance.
If you work in preventive maintenance, your roles and responsibilities would include;
Organising routine maintenance checks and fixing any faults in the machineryCleaning equipment and machinery regularlySpotting and replacing faulty partsOrganizing machinery overhaulsDelegating tasks to junior technicians and fittersOrganizing quality inspections on existing equipment and machineryPreparing maintenance strategies and monitoring costs for maintenanceIf you choose to work in emergency maintenance department, your duties would include;
Ensuring round-the-clock cover of equipment and machineryResponding to emergency breakdowns immediatelyDiagnosing the root cause of a breakdown and fixing the problem as soon as possibleKeeping production managers in the loop about progress on repair work
Entry RequirementsIt is possible to enter into this profession without a bachelor’s degree or any formal qualification, but most employers prefer engineering graduates from related streams, such as manufacturing, mechanical, production, electrical and electronic engineering. Entry with an alternative college qualification is also possible. Some relevant courses include City & Guilds certificate in engineering and BTEC certificate in operations and maintenance engineering. Another option is to start your career as an apprentice. For entry into an apprenticeship scheme, you may need a general certificate of secondary education (GCSE) in related subjects, such as English, mathematics and science.
Skills RequiredNot sure whether you are a good fit for this profession? Check out the skills and qualities required to build a successful career in this field. You must be a tech-savvy person with good practical skills and excellent communication skills. You should have knowledge of basic engineering principles and drawing skills. Strong interpersonal skills and leadership skills will definitely give you an added advantage. You may often need to prepare strategies and budget for maintenance, coordinate with clients and project managers and suppliers, and lead a team of maintenance fitters and technicians. Here are some other skills and qualities required for this job.
Problem solving skillsAbility to work under pressure and handle huge workloads in short turnaround timeGood maths skills, IT skillsKnowledge of health and safety legislationGood analytical skills
Career Opportunity and SalaryMaintenance engineering jobs are available across many industries, including manufacturing, transportation, production, pharmaceutical and aircraft. In addition to jobs in the UK, you can get employment opportunity in multinational companies based in the United States, United Arab Emirates and European countries. Salaries of maintenance engineers vary depending on qualification, experience, skills, location and industry. Initially, you can expect anywhere between £18,000 and £23,000 per year. With experience, your salary could rise to the range of £30,000 to £45,000 per year.
If you are a hardworking person with basic engineering know-how, you can consider a career in maintenance engineering.