Trade Profile – Heavy Equipment Technician
Learn what it takes to maintain and repair heavy equipment, and what the job forecast is
Over the next ten years, it is estimated that over 261,100 tradespeople will retire in Canada, while only 221,300 will enter the field, resulting in a significant loss of skilled workers. In addition, due to the aging population, the overall number of people who are considered to be in their working prime (age 25-54) is expected to decline. These factors will make it increasingly difficult to replenish the retiring workforce.
In response to the anticipated shortage of skilled apprentices, the construction industry has developed several initiatives, opportunities, and grants to encourage youth, women, the indigenous population, and other groups to consider a career in the skilled trades. Alongside various partners, CLAC has become increasingly involved in promoting the skilled trades as a rewarding career option, while simultaneously looking for new ways to support industry and workers alike.
Over the next year, we will share a variety of trades-related blogs here on Your Voice. We will highlight in-demand trades by providing you with a snap shot of their education requirements, average salary, and employment outlook.
This month’s highlighted trade is heavy equipment technician, sometimes referred to as a heavy duty mechanic.
Heavy equipment technicians maintain, repair, and overhaul heavy vehicles and industrial equipment. They are primarily employed by repair shops and other organizations that own or lease the heavy equipment used in construction, forestry, and agriculture. The potential to work in various sectors provides you with flexibility throughout your career.
So what do you need to know in order to be a heavy equipment technician? You must be able to interpret work orders and technical manuals; maintain equipment; test, diagnose and repair malfunctioning equipment; and complete service reports. Apprentices are often given the opportunity to specialize in a certain field of repair, including off-road mechanic, transport trailer mechanic, or truck and transport mechanic, which creates the opportunity to tailor your career to best suit you.
In addition to all the flexibility, the money isn’t bad either. Journeyperson wages can range from $30 to $60 per hour, on average, plus additional benefits. According to BuildForce Canada’s Construction and Maintenance Report, the demand for heavy equipment technicians will remain quite stable over the next ten years and that in some areas, employers may need to compete to attract and retain workers.
How do you become a journeyperson heavy equipment technician? On average, it takes four years to compete this apprenticeship, depending on the province in which you live.
High school students can get a head-start on their apprenticeship in several provinces, including Manitoba and Alberta. Students who are interested in exploring careers in the trades should speak to their career counselor or off-campus coordinator to get started.
Visit the CLAC apprenticeship page for your province to find links to more information on entering the skilled trades.
You can also contact the CLAC Training team in your province to learn more about becoming an apprentice.