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.
On average, plant mechanics, classified under metal fitters and machinists, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.
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.
To become a plant mechanic you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The plant mechanic apprenticeship usually takes 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. 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.
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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.