What’s it all about then?
The role of section leader (sometimes called a supervisor) is one where you provide supervisory management to a maintenance team of fitters, electricians, multi-skilled staff and apprentices.
You’ll provide the link between the operational and administrative parts of the engineering department and will report to the engineering manager or equivalent.
You’ll spend most of your time in the factory overseeing the work being done and taking an active role in repairs when you need to.
You might also be responsible for the upkeep of the factory and its facilities as well so there’s a lot to keep you busy in this role.
What might I be doing?
There is a wide variation in the function of section leader but your job will likely include at least some of the following duties:
- Supervising a team of maintenance staff
- Scheduling and overseeing preventive maintenance activities
- Making sure all work is done properly and safely at all times
- Coordinating with production staff to manage issues as they arise
- Developing staff so that they can excel at their work
- Dealing with external contractors on site
- Controlling stock within maintenance stores
- Making sure all information is recorded properly onto company computer systems
- Attending planning and production meetings and ensuring maintenance activities are integrated into schedules
- Analysing data and checking for recurrent maintenance problems
- Spending time in the production areas making sure that no problems are apparent and discussing issues with production colleagues
What will be expected of me?
You’ll obviously be expected to be an excellent technician and your most likely to have commenced your career as an apprentice.
You’ll need to be able to work calmly when under pressure to get breakdowns sorted and preventive maintenance completed on schedule.
As a section leader you will need to be a people person as you will be continually organising staff and dealing with people from different parts of the company.
Your decision making and problem solving skills will be top level and you’ll also need to understand computers so that you can input and analyse information.
What can I expect?
You can expect to spend most of your time alongside your team within the factory as you organise repairs and preventive maintenance – production will be waiting for you so you need to be able to get the job done.
Being in the factory means wearing protective clothing at all times and when you’re working with food machinery you might expect to have to work with unprepared ingredients amongst other things.
While you’ve reached this supervisory role and will work mostly during the day, no doubt there’ll be weekend work.
And don’t expect to clock off exactly at the end of your shift – if there’s an ongoing repair that cuts across a shift changeover that’s just another problem to solve.
What about the pay?
This can be a well paid job as it’s usually done by someone with a lot of experience and skills.
Salaries of anywhere between £26,000 and £37,000 are normal for this job.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You will likely be a time served maintenance employee who has loads of qualifications and experience under your belt already.
So your qualifications are likely to have commenced with an Apprenticeship in an engineering related subject such as electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.
Or perhaps you’ll have attended college after GCSEs for a couple of years and studied on a full time basis.
What about further training?
There are lots of different options for you which will enhance your career.
Many of these are available through your local FE College; as well as this you might consider taking your qualification level up a notch and study part time for a degree or foundation degree.
Check the University and College websites for details of part time courses related to engineering and also more business and management type qualifications which you may want to consider as well; these will give you a broad range of skills and may also be beneficial to your career aspirations.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, this is an excellent career progression from being an apprentice through to technician status and then a supervisory role.
With the right mix of enthusiasm and application there is no reason for this to be the last of your promotions and the next step will be a managerial role.