Auto Electrician (Heavy)
Heavy equipment automotive engineers check and repair heavy vehicles such as trucks, bulldozers and tractors. They often specialise in one of the following areas: road transport, agriculture equipment, or plant and equipment (factory machinery).
Tasks and Duties:
- diagnose faults
- dismantle engines or other parts requiring attention
- rebuild engines and other major components
- repair or replace any faulty parts
- service heavy automotive equipment
- may carry out Certificate of Fitness checks
- test-drive vehicles and make adjustments
- attend breakdowns
Heavy equipment automotive engineers need to have excellent mechanical skills, including skill in working with diesel vehicles. They must also be skilled in diagnosing mechanical problems, and have an eye for detail.
Heavy equipment automotive engineers need to know about the different types of vehicle engines and parts, automotive electronics, and workshop engineering. They also need to know about Land Transport Safety Authority regulations and safety standards.
Heavy equipment automotive engineers should be practical, responsible, alert and patient. They also need to have good interpersonal skills and be able to think logically.
Heavy equipment automotive engineers must have a good level of fitness, a strong back, and good hand-eye co-ordination. They also need to have good hearing and vision. Stamina is also required, as they may have to work long hours.
Heavy equipment automotive engineers need to have at least three years’ secondary education with NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science, graphics and workshop technology. Level 2 in the same subjects may be an advantage.
Successful completion of the National Certificate for Entry to Automotive Trades or any other pre-apprenticeship course is recommended before beginning an apprenticeship. These courses may be offered at your local polytechnic and are effectively the first year of your apprenticeship. Apprentices also need to have a current drivers license.
Electrical work and experience working with vehicles and large machinery is useful for heavy equipment automotive engineers. An interest in machinery and vehicles is also useful.
Training on the job
Apprentices are trained on the job in automotive heavy engineering and on completion gain a National Certificate. Students usually study one of the following three options: road transport, agriculture equipment, or plant and equipment (factory machinery). Further skills are gained on the job.
Heavy equipment automotive engineers work both inside and outside, and most of the work is carried out in garages and workshops. Occasional travel may be required to visit machinery on-site, as it is very expensive to transport large machinery, and most problems can be corrected on-site with a well-equipped service vehicle.
Pay varies, but qualified heavy equipment automotive engineers usually earn between $50,000 and $80,000. They may earn more if they work overtime, or as supervisors.
Employment opportunities in this occupation are growing in Southland and there is currently a shortage of trained Automotive Heavy engineers. Staff turnover is low in most workplaces, as it is a stable job at a time when there has been a shortage of work in the region. This overall picture is not expected to change in the next five years.