Mechanical engineering tradespersons carry out a range of mechanical work on machines, subassemblies and manufactured parts using a range of processes, tools and machines.
To become a mechanical engineering tradesperson you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Engineering - Mechanical Trade. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.
Mechanical engineering tradespeople may perform the following tasks:
Mechanical engineering tradespeople usually work in workshops or production areas that can be noisy, hot and dusty. They may spend most of their day standing and often need to bend, crouch or climb. They must be aware of safety regulations and wear protective equipment (earmuffs, for example) to maintain personal safety in the workplace.
Mechanical engineering tradespeople are employed by engineering workshops, manufacturing firms, mining and mineral processing companies, the oil and gas industry and utilities, and government organisations and municipal authorities. Fitters and gunsmiths may have self-employment opportunities. Demand is affected by levels of activity in the manufacturing, mining, transport, construction, electricity, gas and water sectors, as well as advances in technology. With experience and further study, competent tradespeople can upgrade their qualifications to the technician, associate, technologist or engineer level.
A fitter fits and assembles parts and subassemblies made from metal and other materials to maintain and repair production machinery and other equipment. The work of fitters can be divided into three main areas: marking out work to be done, assembling and installing machines, and maintaining and repairing them.
A gunsmith alters, services and repairs rifles, revolvers and other firearms. Gunsmiths need good background training in fitting, turning and welding. Knowledge of woodwork and different types of steel is useful for producing, fitting and polishing various parts.
A metal machinist sets up and operates tools to cut, shape and form metal stock and castings to exact sizes, using detailed drawings, computer-aided drafting (CAD) systems and specifications. They machine metal components from simple to complex forms. Metal machinists construct machines and equipment that are used to produce goods such as food, clothes, steel products and cars.
A toolmaker makes and repairs moulds, dies, jigs, fixtures, press tools and other special equipment to produce parts for industrial machinery and most other manufactured articles. They may make precision machinery for machine tools and other manufacturing machinery.