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Production or plant engineer

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Summary of occupation

​Production and plant engineers plan, direct and coordinate manufacturing activities in industrial plants. They are involved in the design and construction processes, and are responsible for overseeing any modifications and maintenance of equipment and machinery. Production and plant engineers are responsible for inspecting plant and machinery to make sure that everything operates at optimum performance and they also implement solutions to improve the flow of production. They may offer advice on equipment or machinery positioning on the factory floor to maximise production levels.

ANZSCO description: Plans, directs and coordinates the design, construction, modification, continued performance and maintenance of equipment and machines in industrial plants, and the management and planning of manufacturing activities. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

​A production or plant engineer needs:

  • an interest in technical design and engineering
  • good analytical and problem solving skills
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • to work with a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • to be able to work independently and as part of a team.
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Working conditions

​Production or plant engineers work in a variety of industries such as food or product manufacturing, or processing, manufacturing or treating chemicals, gases, water, waste, minerals or bulk materials. They usually split their time between working in an office and on the factory floor. They work with a wide range of people such as factory floor staff, production teams and managers.

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Salary details

​Graduate production or plant engineers, classified under mechanical engineers, can expect to earn approximately $1 144 per week ($59 500 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.

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Tools and technologies

​Production or plant engineers perform many of their tasks on a computer, often using specialised software for tasks such as writing reports, preparing cost estimates and budgets, and developing engineering specifications. They may be required to use computer-aided design (CAD) software programs to create 2D drawings and 3D models.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a production or plant engineer you usually need to complete an engineering degree with a major in mechanical engineering.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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