What they do
Mechanical engineering technicians assist engineers with the design, manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of machinery and other mechanical equipment. They draw up designs for new machinery, assemble and install new or altered mechanical equipment and parts and carry out workshop and field testing as part of the quality control process. They may also calculate building, maintenance and operation costs, including the expected lifetime of each component of the machine.
Mechanical engineering technicians usually work in workshops, factories, power plants, building sites or offices. In Western Australia, they usually work in the Perth metropolitan area and some regional areas. The work environment can be noisy and dirty, and some of the machinery may potentially be dangerous. There are often strict safety procedures that must be followed to minimise the risk of working with heavy machinery. Work hours can vary significantly, depending on the employer and type of work being conducted. Some mechanical engineering technicians may work shifts, which can include nights and weekends. Many work on a Fly in/Fly out basis.
Tools and technologies
Mechanical engineering technicians usually use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software when drawing up new plans or blueprints. When installing new equipment or carrying out maintenance they may use a variety of hand and power tools. Safety equipment may include steel-capped boots, safety googles, hard-hats, overalls, high-visibility clothing, gloves and hearing protection.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a mechanical engineering technician you usually need to gain a qualification in technical or mechanical engineering.
The Diploma of Engineering – Technical and the Diploma of Engineering – Technical (Mechanical) are offered at TAFE colleges and registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake an engineering draftsperson traineeship (level 5). The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
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.