Heavy Duty Mechanic


Heavy duty equipment mechanics repair, troubleshoot, adjust, overhaul and maintain heavy-duty equipment used in virtually all industrial sectors of BC’s economy, including shipbuilding and ship repair. Heavy duty mechanics are like master puzzle builders and focus much of their time taking heavy equipment apart and/or putting it back together again. This includes engines, transmissions, exhaust systems, fuel systems, generators and other ship related machinery. 

Heavy duty mechanic jobs aren’t just a game of heavy lifting; heavy duty mechanics are often master trouble-shooters who work with highly specialized equipment, computerized systems and technical specifications. A typical day in a heavy-duty mechanic’s life is often unpredictable, and daily tasks shift along with changes in project priorities and achievements.

  • Inspect, monitor, and maintain engines, transmissions, exhaust systems, fuel systems, generators, cranes, graders, other heavy construction equipment and equipment accessories or attachments.
  • Diagnose faults or malfunctions using computers and other highly specialized devices.
  • Adjust, repair or replace defective parts, components or attachments using power and hand-held tools.
  • Test repaired or installed equipment to ensure proper performance and to ensure the equipment meets manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Engage in highly physical duties and tasks with a strict emphasis on workplace health and safety regulations and best practices.
  • You pride yourself on your excellent hand-eye coordination and attention to detail.
  • You enjoy physically active tasks and large scale industrial projects.
  • You are a problem solver with a passion for the inner workings of engines and machinery.
  • You consider yourself a master of manual dexterity and pride yourself on your steady arms and hands.
  • You enjoy seeing the results of your hard work come together to create large-scale team successes.


Careers in the BC shipbuilding & ship repair industry usually begin with an apprenticeship in Red Seal trades or with a job directly at a shipyard. Many get their start in shipbuilding as a shipyard labourer prior to being accepted into an apprenticeship program.

Discuss possible career steps with your school councillor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider highschool trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades. 

ACE-IT High School Program Finder


Most apprenticeships require you to  have a high school diploma and  to complete a foundations certificate as a prerequisite prior to starting your apprenticeship. Check with available training providers to learn their specific eligibility requirements. 

There are different pathways you can take in order to become a heavy duty equipment mechanic. In order to be eligible for industry certification as a heavy duty equipment mechanic, you can complete a three to five-year apprenticeship program or you can apply a combination of over four years of practical work experience as a heavy duty equipment mechanic, plus some high school, college or other industry courses.


Red Seal trade certification allows for movement between provinces.

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program


Employer sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through an application process. Union sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through their trade union and can be recruited by employers based on the needs of a shipyard.


Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools or other expenses. If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit the Red Seal program for information on how to get started.