Plant mechanic

Also known as:

  • Mechanical fitter

What they do

Plant mechanics work with a range of tools to diagnose and repair industrial or agricultural machinery and equipment malfunctions. They may also perform routine maintenance on machinery, and operate a number of machines that grind, drill, shape and mill replacement components. They assemble and fit these components, which might require welding, before performing a final test of the equipment.

Specialisations include: Computer Numeric Control Setter, Diesel Fitter-Mechanic, Fitter-Machinist, Fitter-Mechanic, Maintenance Fitter, Mechanic (Diesel and Heavy Earthmoving Equipment)

Working conditions

Plant mechanics work in a broad range of environments, from iron ore mines in the Pilbara to the Kwinana oil refinery. Working conditions tend to be noisy, dirty and at times dangerous. Plant mechanics must therefore be aware of safety regulations and wear and use personal protective equipment (PPE). They spend a majority of their day standing but must also be prepared to bend, crouch or climb for extended periods.

Tools and technologies

Plant mechanics use computerised diagnostic equipment to test machines. If any faults are found they may be required to use equipment manuals, hand and power tools such as spanners, sockets, screwdrivers, drills, welding and cutting equipment and lifting gear.

Plant mechanics are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses and earmuffs, as their work can be dangerous.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a fixed plant mechanic, you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship. The plant mechanic apprenticeship usually takes 42 to 48 months to complete, and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

To can also undertake and apprenticeship to become a mobile plant mechanic. The automotive technician (heavy mobile equipment) usually takes 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.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a plant mechanic, you may need to obtain a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”) from a registered training organisation authorised by the WorkSafe Division, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.