Cog and wheel master

Cog and wheel master

Someone has to make sure all the machines on a building site work as they're supposed to

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Cog and wheel master_L
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP
Ng Tsz-on has always been interested in machines. After finishing Form Five, he took the Construction Plant Maintenance and Repairs Course offered by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to train to become a mechanic.

Get started:

Students at CIC are trained to fix different machines on the building sites, from excavators to power drills. There is a great variety of tools that mechanics need to learn how to use in their job.

Graduates of the course can work as apprentice after passing the intermediate trade test.

Moving up:

After two to three years on the job, an apprentice can get certification as a mechanic. From there, a mechanic can move up to become a mechanical engineer by doing higher diploma and degree courses in mechanical engineering.

Race to the top:

There are many machines on a building site, and mechanics need to be able to fix them all. They need to understand how each machine works. They need to be patient and pay attention to detail to spot problems.

Where to apply:

Construction contractors and railway companies

Rewards and benefits:

Mechanics are paid on a monthly basis. An apprentice is paid around HK$9,000 a month, and those with certification get around HK$20,000 per month.

A day in the life:

Every day, mechanics check all machines, including temporary lifts, on the building site before work starts.

A workshop is usually set up near the building site for mechanics to do their job. Experienced mechanics are able to set up the electricity supply for the workshop. There is back-up for all machines; the mechanic will provide workers with a replacement when they take a faulty machine to be repaired.

The working hours for a mechanic are similar to those of other construction workers: they generally start at 8am and finish at around 5 or 6pm.

Jargon

Chicken head: A type of excavator, a heavy machine on a building site used mostly for digging.

Builder's lift: A lift that workers use to go to the upper levels of a building that is being built. It's the job of the mechanic to check the lift is working properly.

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