Skip to main content

What is the difference between fixed plant and mobile plant apprenticeships?

A number of trade specialisations refer to work with fixed plant or mobile plant. While some crossover may occur in certain roles, typically your trade determines which type of plant you will be primarily working on.

The distinction is important because fixed plant machinery requires significant planning, infrastructure, and installation, whereas mobile machinery offers greater flexibility in terms of deployment.

This results in different technical skills required for both types of plant roles.

What is Fixed Plant

Fixed plant machinery refers to industrial equipment, machinery, or processing units that are permanently installed or fixed in a specific location and are not designed to be easily moved.

These machines are typically used in various industries, such as manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture, to perform specific functions or processes as part of a larger production or operational system.

Examples of fixed plant machinery include:

  • Manufacturing equipment: Machinery used in factories for production processes, such as assembly lines, CNC machines, and industrial robots
  • Processing equipment: Equipment used in processing raw materials or products, such as crushers, grinders, and mixing tanks in a mining or chemical processing plant
  • Power generation equipment: Fixed generators, boilers, and turbines used in power plants to generate electricity
  • Material handling equipment: Conveyors, elevators, and forklifts used to transport materials within a facility
  • Oil and gas equipment: Refining and extraction machinery that is permanently installed at oil refineries and drilling sites
  • Water treatment plants: Equipment for treating and purifying water, including pumps, filters, and chemical dosing systems
  • Agricultural machinery: Stationary equipment used in agriculture, such as grain silos, irrigation systems, and feed processing units

Fixed Plant Apprenticeships

Engineering Apprenticeships include trade specialisations that typically work on fixed plant, such as:

The nationally accredited qualifications included in these apprenticeships are part of the Manufacturing and Engineering Training Package (MEM), such MEM30219 Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade.

Note: If the role calls for a true mix of fixed and mobile plant work, you may undertake a MEM31419 Certificate III in Engineering - Fixed and Mobile Plant Mechanic as part of your engineering trade apprenticeship.

What is Mobile Plant

Mobile plant machinery refers to industrial equipment, machinery, or vehicles that are designed to be easily transported and used at various locations.

Mobile plant machinery is known for its adaptability and portability, allowing companies to use the same equipment at multiple sites or move it as needed to respond to changing operational requirements.

This mobility is particularly valuable in industries where projects are spread across different locations or where flexibility in equipment deployment is essential.

Examples of mobile plant machinery include:

  • Mining equipment: Machinery used in mining operations, such as haul trucks, drilling rigs, and mobile crushers
  • Construction equipment: Mobile machinery used in construction sites, such as excavators, bulldozers, cranes, and concrete mixers
  • Material handling equipment: Mobile conveyors, forklifts, and aerial work platforms used for transporting materials and accessing elevated areas
  • Transportation vehicles: Trucks and trailers designed for the transportation of goods, equipment, and materials
  • Utility vehicles: Vehicles used for maintenance and service tasks, including mobile generators, maintenance trucks, and street sweepers
  • Agricultural machinery: Farm equipment that can be towed or driven to different fields, like tractors, combines, and ploughs
  • Forestry equipment: Mobile machinery for logging and forestry operations, such as skidders and wood chippers

Mobile Plant Apprenticeships

Automotive Apprenticeships include trade specialisations that work with mobile plant, such as:

These apprenticeships included a nationally accredited qualification from the Automotive Retail, Service and Repair Training Package (AUR).

Which Apprenticeship Should I Choose?

The choice between a fixed plant (engineering apprenticeships) and a mobile plant (automotive apprenticeships) should be based on several factors, including your career goals, interests, and the job opportunities available in your area.

Here are some considerations to help you decide:

  • Career Goals

    Fixed plant: If you are interested in working with machinery and equipment typically found in manufacturing plants, refineries, or processing facilities and prefer a stable, controlled work environment, a fixed plant apprenticeship may be more suitable.

    Mobile plant: If you prefer a dynamic and varied work environment, enjoy operating heavy machinery or vehicles, and are interested in industries like construction, mining, agriculture, or forestry, a mobile plant apprenticeship might be a better fit.

  • Work Environment

    Fixed plant typically involves working within a specific facility, which can provide a stable and consistent work environment.

    Mobile plant often involves working at different job sites, which can offer a more diverse and unpredictable work experience.

  • Personal Interests and Skills

    Think about your interests and the skills you enjoy using. If you have a passion for machinery maintenance, troubleshooting, and optimising production processes, a fixed plant apprenticeship may align with your interests.

    On the other hand, if you enjoy maintaining heavy equipment and working outdoors, a mobile plant apprenticeship may be more appealing.

  • Long-term Prospects

    Consider the long-term prospects of the apprenticeship.

    The Australian Government recognises these types of roles as priority occupations, offering incentives such as the Australian Apprentice Training Support Payment.

    Both fixed plant and mobile plant apprenticeships can lead to well-paying careers with opportunities for advancement.

Find an Apprenticeship

Ultimately, the choice between a fixed plant and a mobile plant apprenticeship should align with your interests and career aspirations. It's essential to do thorough research, talk to tradespeople in the field, and consider your personal preferences when making this decision.

MIGAS is here to help. Start by reading up on different trades specialisations, and if you're unsure which type of apprenticeship is best for you get in touch with us

Check out our Jobs Board for engineering trade and automotive apprenticeships available now.

View Jobs Board


In the spirit of reconciliation, MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.