Metal Fitters & Machinists

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2018: 25,001 to 50,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $1201 to $1500 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
Brief If you've got a question or two about the repair, maintenance or manufacture of metal products, ask a fitter. It's their area of expertise. There are about 7,200 metal fitters and machinists employed in South Australia, and nearly all of them are male. Majority are working in the manufacturing industry within the Adelaide metropolitan area. Most persons in this occupation work full-time with the main age group of 35-44 years.

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Has your mum's sewing machine ever needed to be repaired or have you wondered who builds the drilling equipment used to extract minerals from the ground? Fitters are the skilled tradespeople who repair and turn pieces of metal into the production machinery that is used in the mining, agriculture and manufacturing industries. Described as the backbone of the industries they work in, fitters are heavily involved in all metal based manufacturing.

Education Requirements

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma of Engineering-Advanced Trade. Pathways include the Certificate III in Engineering-Technical and Certificate IV in Engineering.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

The demand for fitters is largely dependent on levels of activity in the manufacturing, mining, transport, construction, electricity, gas and water sectors, and on advances in technology and concerns about security. Employment prospects are generally good.

Opportunities exists for self-employment.

Nature of the Job

First of all, a fitter looks at drawings of the part that has to be machined (altered or made). They mark out its shape and dimensions on to the metal, before cutting. The pieces are then assembled and fitted together. Drill holes or tap threads are inserted to enable the parts to be joined together. They check that the parts are an exact fit and if not, they file parts until they are correctly proportioned. Finally, parts are either bolted, screwed, clipped or welded together, checked for faults and any problems are then corrected.

Typical Physical Working Environment

People interested in this occupation should have an interest in and appreciation of things mechanical. For example, a diesel fitter needs to appreciate how engines are assembled and how they operate. It's also important for potential fitters to know about the different types of metals and the methods involved in fastening metal parts. In this work environment, an eye for detail, good eye hand coordination, and an awareness of safety rules and procedures are desirable. Because fitters use potentially dangerous equipment, they need to wear protective clothing and equipment, such as safety glasses. Fitters often work in engineering workshops, which can be noisy and dirty. Fitters can also work in the mining industry and on off shore oil rigs.

Typical Occupational Example

Fitters often become experts in undertaking repairs and replacements for specialist equipment used in particular industry sectors. Farmers, who are in the middle of harvesting when the clutch on the tractor fails, will tell you what a lifesaver a fitter can be. The farmers rely on diesel fitters who specialise in the maintenance and repair of the mechanical parts of heavy earth moving equipment. Former mechanical fitter, Joe Tufilli, now a Client Service Representative, says he was heavily involved in the repair and servicing of mobile mining equipment. ''The type of machinery that I worked on varied, but it was mostly for use in the mining industry. I commonly worked on drills, used for extracting minerals from the earth, or loaders, which are similar to large bulldozers. A service could take a few days, while a complete overhaul of a loader, for example, could take several months.''

Maintenance fitters service and repair mechanical equipment such as pumps, compressors and conveyor belts. These types of machines are used in factories in the production process for goods such as toys and tinned food. Other specialist areas include fluid power fitters (build or repair hydraulic pumps), bench fitters (work in workshops) and fitter welders (conduct repair by welding).

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online