Marine engineering technicians help build, convert, service and repair ships, offshore platforms, other marine structures and the equipment installed on them.
They use a range of tools and engineering skills, depending on the particular sector of the industry.
Marine engineering technicians may work at sea:
Marine engineering technicians may also work on dry land and this may include:
Marine engineering technicians often work in teams under the direction of a professional engineer.
Working hours vary from job to job, but technicians usually work around 37.5 hours a week. There might also be overtime and shift work.
Marine engineering technicians work in a wide range of different environments, including factories and manufacturing units, shipyards, ports, marinas and coastal stations, at sea and on the seabed.
They may need to wear safety equipment, such as hard hats and protective overalls, for some jobs, and technicians working underwater need appropriate diving and underwater equipment.
Jobs at sea can mean working in rough weather conditions and some jobs can involve long periods away from home.
The starting salary for a newly-qualified marine engineering technician is around £14,000 a year.
Marine engineering technicians work for a wide range of organisations:
Shipbuilders and repairers, where most of the work is based in six large commercial shipyards in the UK and in major ship repair facilities at ports around the coast.
Boatbuilders, where the work is usually in specialist firms involved in the construction and repair of yachts and small ships.
Plant equipment manufacturers which design and make equipment for use in shipyards, oil platforms and on ships and boats.
The leisure marine industry that includes small engine manufacturers, inland waterways hire fleets and marinas.
The Royal Navy where technicians are prepared for work on aircraft carriers, destroyers, mine counter-measure vessels and submarines.
The Merchant Navy, which is made up of individual shipping companies that operate ferries, cruise ships, container ships, tankers and specialised vessels.
There is a shortage of trained and skilled people and there are good opportunities for technicians at the moment.
Jobs are likely to be advertised in Marine Engineers Review, The Journal of Offshore Technology, in the local press and through employers' websites, particularly those of shipping companies.
The usual entry route is through an Advanced Apprenticeship leading to a technician level qualification. Some Apprenticeships lead directly to engineering technician registration by the Engineering Council UK, which means individuals can use the letters EngTech after their name.
Entry requirements for Advanced Apprenticeships vary, but are likely to be four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) including maths, science or technology, or equivalent qualifications. In some cases an A level/H grade or equivalent is required.
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.
Entry requirements for marine engineering technician training in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy may vary. Their websites and the job articles on Royal Navy and Merchant Navy jobs have full details.
The Apprenticeship programme takes three to four years and includes training at work and at college. It leads to an NVQ/SVQ in Marine Engineering at either Level 2 or 3 and often to additional qualifications such as a BTEC national certificate/diploma.
To achieve EngTech status, technicians must register formally with the Engineering Council as an engineering technician and will need:
A Diploma will help you make a more informed choice about the type of learning that best suits you and about what kind of work or further study you may want to do afterwards.
The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) accredits training courses that lead to membership at engineering technician level.
Oil Drilling Roustabouts and Roughnecks work as part of a small team on offshore oil or gas drilling rigs or production platforms. Roustabouts do unskilled manual labouring jobs on rigs and platforms, and Roughneck is a promotion from roustabout.
Roustabouts do basic tasks to help keep the rig and platform working efficiently and Roughnecks do practical tasks involved in the drilling operation, under the supervision of the driller.
A marine engineering technician needs:
Promotion prospects in the larger companies and with the Royal Navy are very good.
With experience, marine engineering technicians can move into jobs with more responsibility or into supervisory roles in all areas of the industry.
With further study, technicians could progress to incorporated or chartered engineer status.
British Marine Federation, Marine House,
Thorpe Lea Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 8BF
Tel: 01784 473377
Engineering Council UK (ECUK),
246 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Institute of Marine Engineering, Science
and Technology (IMarEST), 80 Coleman Street,
London EC2R 5BJ
Tel: 020 7382 2600
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
(formerly Institution of Electrical Engineers and
Institution of Incorporated Engineers),
Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL
Tel: 020 7240 1871
The Marine Society,
202 Lambeth Road, London SE1 7JW
Tel: 020 7654 7000
The Merchant Navy Association,
9 Saxon Way, Caistor, Market Rasen,
Lincolshire LN7 6SG
Tel: 01472 851130
SEMTA (Science, Engineering
and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance),
14 Upton Road, Watford WD18 0JT
Tel: 01923 238441
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.