Engineering maintenance fitter

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Paul Reid is an apprentice with Rolls-Royce in Derby, working on engine testing and development. He is involved in building the Trent 900 engine that will be used on the new Airbus A380.

What does your job as an Engineering maintenance fitter involve?

I work in the area where aero engines for our civil aerospace business are built. My team assembles a wide variety of parts for the engine such as the compressor, turbine and the whole combustion module. I also work on in-service engines that undergo modifications. Replacement engines also need to be tested for flight certification.

I do tasks such as stripping and rebuilding engines, as well as inspection. There is also a lot of electrical work to be carried out on the engines, which is necessary to check their performance.

Do you have a typical day?

There is such wide variety of parts in an aero engine that I could be working on something new every day. However, during my training, I tend to be allocated one specific part for at least a week to gain as much knowledge as possible of how to assemble it. My training has always been interesting because there is such a wide range of skills to learn.

What equipment do you use?

We have to use a lot of Rolls-Royce specialist tools, cranes, hand tools and a wide variety of air tools. The hardware we work with is worth millions of pounds.

What training have you completed?

I have completed my NVQ Level 2 in Engineering, which I studied at the company's learning and development centre in Derby. I've also completed my BTEC National Certificate in Engineering on a day-release programme at Derby College. At the moment, I'm working towards an NVQ Level 3 in Engineering and I'll start my Foundation degree course next September.

What do you like best about being an Engineering maintenance fitter?

I enjoy all the practical work and the satisfaction of seeing the end product. I also like meeting a lot of people. There are lots of social events and out-of-work activities organised by the company, including a wide range of community projects.

Are there any disadvantages?

The only disadvantage I can think of is that some people don't like working shifts. I've got used to the working pattern though, and you do get paid extra for shift work.

What skills do you need for this job?

You need to have a genuine interest in engineering, and be good at maths so that you don't struggle at college. I think that doing an engineering GCSE or a similar subject helps a great deal. It prepares you well for the working environment.

Paul's route to becoming an engineering maintenance fitter

  • GCSEs.
  • NVQ Level 2 in Engineering.
  • BTEC National Certificate in Engineering.
  • Working towards NVQ Level 3.

Paul's engineering tips

  • You must have an interest in engineering.
  • Good grades at GCSE (above grade D) - especially in maths - are essential.
  • Apprenticeships are a good entry route.

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Salary of an engineering maintenance fitter

  • Starting salaries for apprentices are usually between £9,000 and £12,000 a year, depending on the employer.
  • The average pay for maintenance fitters is usually around £20,000 a year.
  • Highly skilled and experienced maintenance fitters may earn as much as £30,000 a year.
  • Overtime and shift work payments may increase earnings.

Engineering maintenance fitter

  • Most apprentices begin at 16 to 18 years of age, but it is possible to join up to the age of 25.
  • Apprentices are either an engineer apprentice or a multi-skilled apprentice. Technician Apprenticeships are also available.
  • Employers want to be sure entrants can cope with the college and theory aspects of the course, so they may require three to five GCSEs/S grades (A-E/1-5), particularly in English, maths, science and technology.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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