What they do
Maintenance planners ensure that the machinery used in manufacturing, refining and processing plants is in the best possible working order. This is done by developing maintenance strategies, as well as scheduling, coordinating and monitoring the maintenance of all plant equipment. They plan and organise preventative maintenance processes such as oil analysis, condition monitoring or vibration analysis, non-destructive testing, thermography, and ultra sound, as well as predictive maintenance processes like lubrication and sensory inspections, and periodic component replacement. They analyse the risk of process failure, ensure that correct spare parts are stocked, undertake performance measurement, and try to ensure that maintenance costs are kept as low as possible.
Maintenance planners work in factories, power and process plants, oil refineries, and manufacturing, engineering and mining facilities. Working conditions may be noisy, dirty or dangerous. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work longer hours at times, and may be on call twenty four hours a day in case of emergencies. In some work environments, such as factories, mining facilities or oil refineries, maintenance planners may be required to work in shifts outside of regular working hours.
Tools and technologies
Maintenance planners need to understand the specific components of the process machinery they are responsible for maintaining, as well as knowing the components used in them and other equipment used in conjunction with that machinery. The specific equipment they use is relevant to the type of equipment they maintain, but is usually diagnostic in nature. They also use computers and other office equipment.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a maintenance planner, you usually need to complete a qualification in mechanical engineering, engineering or a related area.
The Certificate IV in Engineering, the Diploma of Engineering – Technical and the Advanced Diploma of Engineering are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.
You can also complete an apprenticeship in engineering tradesperson mechanical (plant mechanic). The apprenticeship usually take 42 to 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.