Office equipment service technicians install, repair and maintain all kinds of office equipment, including computers, monitors, printers, scanners, photocopiers and fax machines.
They may work for equipment manufacturers or suppliers, and specialise in the installation and repair of their products. They might also work within a large company or organisation, helping to keep equipment running smoothly. Others work in repair centres or technical support centres, diagnosing technical faults, changing damaged parts and repairing equipment.
Some service technicians work for themselves, installing and repairing equipment for smaller businesses.
In any of these jobs, the main tasks tend to include:
Regular maintenance checks. This involves inspecting the machinery and making sure it works efficiently, and if necessary, replacing any worn out or faulty parts, or cleaning some equipment regularly with specialist tools.
Installing new equipment in offices. This involves setting up equipment, making sure it works properly and showing staff how to use it safely and effectively. Technicians usually explain how to deal with common problems to prevent unnecessary call-outs.
Being on call to respond quickly when equipment breaks down. Technicians make any repairs they can, but for more serious faults, the equipment may have to be taken to a specialist repairer.
Depending on the organisation they work for, technicians may deal with telephone calls from customers, giving advice and talking through technical problems over the phone. They may even carry out some repairs remotely, by phone or computer.
Technicians who work for manufacturers or suppliers might do some sales work, encouraging clients to buy new machines to replace equipment that is past its best.
Service technicians usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, but may have to be on call to respond quickly to clients with urgent technical problems. Overtime and weekend work is sometimes required.
There may be opportunities for flexitime or part-time work, depending on the employer.
Technicians based in a repair centre may have to work evening shifts to take calls from customers. They often work under pressure to complete as many jobs as possible in a specific period of time.
The work is mainly based indoors, in a wide range of office environments. Technicians working for a supplier or maintenance company travel to their customers' premises. A clean driving licence may be required by some employers.
They may have to carry heavy tools, bend or kneel to check equipment or take a machine apart. Sometimes technicians may have to work in small or confined spaces in a busy office environment.
A uniform or overalls may be provided.
Starting salaries for trainee technicians are around £14,000 a year. The job may come with a car or van, and there may be extra payments for overtime or call-outs.
Virtually every company, whatever its size, relies on equipment such as computers and photocopiers, and there is always a demand for service technicians with the skills to keep this equipment working well.
Most service technicians work for companies that make IT and business equipment, or for the contractors that work on their behalf.
Jobs tend to be advertised in the local press, on websites and through recruitment agencies.
It is possible to go into this work straight from school or from a job that has provided some engineering or practical experience. Most recruits, though, do have qualifications such as NVQ's/SVQ's or BTEC awards.
Larger employers tend to employ technicians with at least a year's experience.
Service technicians can also start their careers by joining an employer on a technician Apprenticeship, or by studying at college before starting work.
Relevant courses and qualifications include:
A Diploma will help you make a more informed choice about the type of learning that best suits you and about what kind of work or further study you may want to do afterwards.
There are no set entry requirements for some courses, but course providers may ask for at least three GCSE's/S grades. For a BTEC national award, entrants need four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications.
For an Apprenticeship, candidates need four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), including maths and science or technology.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Specialist training centres and colleges may offer their own qualifications, such as IT systems support, electronic servicing and electrical installation. It is important to check that these are aimed at the job area in which candidates are interested.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
Training is usually on the job under the supervision of more experienced colleagues. An Apprenticeship may also include off-the-job training at a college or training centre and trainee technicians may have the chance to work towards NVQ's/SVQ's or other relevant vocational qualifications.
Most employers train new recruits on the machinery they sell or lease, and will often combine practical skills training with customer service and possibly sales training.
Many employers provide further training opportunities to help technicians keep up to date with new technical developments.
Service technicians should:
Technicians can improve their skills and breadth of knowledge through experience and further training. They may be able to progress into more senior or team leadership roles.
There are also opportunities to specialise in IT, sales, service engineering, managing contracts, or customer service support and training.
A small number of technicians set up their own companies, offering repair and maintenance services to organisations in their local area.
1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR
Tel: 020 7963 8920
The Institution of Engineering and Technology,
Michael Faraday House, Stevenage, Herts SG1 2AY
Tel: 01438 313311
SEMTA (Science, Engineering, Manufacturing
14 Upton Road,
Watford WD18 0JT
Tel: 01923 238441
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.