Domestic Appliance Service Technician

The Job and What's Involved

Washing MachineDomestic appliance service technicians install, maintain, service and repair a wide range of domestic appliances. These include 'white goods' such as washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, cookers, fridges and freezers, as well as smaller items such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves and irons. They may also deal with 'brown goods' such as televisions and hi-fi equipment.

Service technicians visit homes and offices to:

  • Repair appliances that have developed a fault.
  • Replace faulty or worn out parts.
  • Fit and install new equipment.
  • Carry out routine servicing, maintenance and inspection work on equipment that is protected by an extended guarantee or an insurance policy taken out by a customer.

When repairs cannot be done on the spot, technicians may arrange for faulty equipment to be removed to a workshop. If appropriate, they may install a replacement. Service technicians also refurbish, recycle or safely dispose of older appliances.

Some service technicians are based in workshops, where they repair faulty items that are sent in. Others repair smaller items brought in for repair by members of the public, such as microwaves and audio equipment.

Domestic appliance service technicians may specialise in electrical, mechanical, plumbing, electronics or refrigeration, but most combine a range of skills. They use hand and power tools, including testing devices and computer equipment for diagnosing faults.

Service technicians need to work to a high standard and be aware of health and safety practices when servicing domestic appliances. There are very strict rules about working safely with electricity or gas.

They need to keep records of the work they do and may also write reports, provide customers with receipts or invoices, and give quotes for work to be done.

Most domestic appliance service technicians work usual office hours, but may also be on call for urgent work outside these hours. There may be overtime, including evenings and weekends.

The work often involves bending and kneeling to get access to appliances and their components. Service technicians need to be able to lift and carry appliances or machines, which can be heavy or awkward.

When working in customers' homes or business premises, service technicians usually wear overalls or a uniform provided by the employer. They need to be able to drive from one project to another and larger employers often provide a vehicle.

New entrants may start on around £12,000 to £15,000 a year. Experienced workers may earn around £18,000 to £24,000. Highly skilled and experienced service technicians may earn £25,000 or more.

There may be overtime and on-call payments.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are around 50,000 people working in domestic appliance servicing across the UK. They may work in domestic appliance manufacturers' service centres or for a retailer. They can also work for companies specialising in domestic appliance repair and maintenance, local authorities, recycling projects and public utility companies. Many service technicians are self-employed.

Jobs are advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus offices and Connexions centres.

Education and Training

There are no set entry requirements, but GCSE's in English, maths, science and technology, or the Diploma in engineering could be useful.

Many service technicians start their career on an Apprenticeship. The Engineering Connections website has a search facility for finding Apprenticeship placements throughout the UK.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

There is a range of vocational courses relevant to this field of work, including:

BTEC Introductory, First, National and Higher National qualifications in engineering.

BTEC National and Higher National qualifications in electrical/electronic engineering or in mechanical engineering.

City & Guilds electrical and electronics servicing.

EAL Level 2 Certificate for domestic electrical installers.

EAL Level 2 Certificate and Level 3 Diploma in engineering and technology.

People with experience in working with electrical, electronic or mechanical items may also be able to move into this career.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Employers usually provide on-the-job training, which varies according to the technician's level of experience and from employer to employer. Appliance manufacturers or retailers may provide training on specific products.

Apprenticeships involve working on the job with an experienced technician, combined with off-the-job, day- or block-release training leading to NVQ's, such as:

- NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in electrical and electronic servicing
- NVQ Level 3 in electrotechnical servicing

Technicians may work towards professional registration as an engineering technician (EngTech), which provides independent verification of their skills and experiences.

EngTech registration can be made through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers or Institution of Engineering and Technology.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Domestic appliance service technicians need:

  • Good manual skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • A responsible attitude to health and safety.
  • Strong communication skills, for talking to customers.
  • To be able to work quickly, sometimes under pressure.
  • To be able to work well on their own, without supervision.
  • To be able to complete records and reports.
  • To be able to use a laptop computer for diagnostic and report work.
  • Normal colour vision, for electrical or electronic work.

Your Long Term Prospects

Once a technician has built up skills and experience, they may be able to set up their own business, providing repair and maintenance services in their local area.

It is also possible to move into technical sales or training.

Get Further Information

The Domestic Appliance Service Association (DASA)
Tel: 0870 224 0343
Website: www.dasa.org.uk

Engineering Connections
Tel: 0800 917 1617
Website: www.apprentices.co.uk

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Tel: 01438 313 311
Website: www.theiet.org

Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Tel: 020 7222 7899
Website: www.imeche.org

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