Choosing to learn a trade or a specific skill set is always recommended as no matter what state the economy is in, certain industries will always need workers, and mechanics and auto repairs is one of them. Your chances of always finding work are high but also once you are fully qualified you have skills that will last a lifetime and save you hundreds by being able to fix your own vehicles!
We’ve put together a guide on what official qualifications you will need to get started and how to find work, or think about setting up your own business.
- Why You Should Work as a Mechanic
- Getting Started: Qualifications and Training
- Finding Work
- Starting Your Own Business
- More Useful Reading
Here are all the reasons you need on why you should work as a mechanic.
Car maintenance is costly but it’s an unavoidable part of owning a vehicle. However, this means there will always be jobs for mechanics. Fewer people tend to opt to become skilled tradespeople now, choosing university courses instead without considering the long-term job security and financial benefits of trades. That means there’s high demand for skilled mechanics – so you’re likely to always have work.
Training as a mechanic doesn’t necessarily mean working in a garage. There’s a large variety of areas of work it can lead to including designing new auto systems, developing new technologies, or managing and repairing products. Depending on where your main interests lie, there are various options available.
This is a flexible area of work and you can even set up your own business. You can then work the hours you want, when you want, and have more control over how much work you take on and how much money you can potentially make. It’s a great work option for people with lots of family commitments or other obligations.
The two options for getting qualified as a mechanic are to either take a college course (or equivalent) or find an apprenticeship in the industry. For both of these you generally need at least 4-5 GCSEs including maths and English but each course has individual requirements.
There are plenty of courses available including City & Guilds, BTECS or NVQs that include the Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair and the Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology.
During the course you’ll receive learning theory and problem solving skills alongside some hands-on experience. Generally a course will last 1-2 years but may be up to 3 for higher level qualifications. Once you’re fully qualified though you can begin to apply for trainee and entry-level jobs.
If you think financing a course may be a difficulty for you it’s worth checking out whether you are eligible for any funding. Alternatively, consider whether an apprenticeship might be more suited to you.
A variety of intermediate and advanced mechanical apprenticeships are available. They take 2-3 years to complete but you receive a reduced wage as you work on the job while receiving training at the same time. So, you can earn while you study – and you’ll gain vital real-world experience to give you confidence when you qualify. Find out more about apprenticeships on the Government’s website.
When you begin to apply for work some of the main job titles you’ll see advertised for newly-qualified mechanics are:
- Vehicle Technician
- Motor Repair Garage Mechanic
- Vehicle Mechanic
- Mechanic Technician
- Plant Mechanic
Online job search sites like Indeed and Reed are always good places to start as most businesses post adverts online. InAutomotive is worth using to look for jobs specifically in
this industry, filter through what’s local to you and set up alerts so you won’t miss out on any opportunity that comes up.
Similarly to when you’re applying for any job you want to make sure your interest and enthusiasm for the work is clear to an employer. If this is the first automotive job you’re applying for do you have any previous work experience or volunteering in the industry that you could mention. If you carry out maintenance or repairs on your own vehicle this is a great way to demonstrate your skills and your enthusiasm to learn. Although an employer wants to hire someone well qualified for the job they also want to make sure you’re interested in the role and will be keen to progress.
It would be worth mentioning if you have your full and clean driver’s licence as this may be essential for particular jobs.
Unlike many other businesses, starting a garage or repair shop has a lot of initial upfront costs as certain equipment and facilities are necessary to carry out jobs. If you are seriously considering setting up your own business then take the time to properly come up with a business plan and don’t skimp out on estimating how much these start-up costs will be.
Some things to consider are:
- Business licence
- ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certifications
- Professional insurance
- Staff and labour costs
- Mechanical tool sets and equipment
Certification and Qualifications
These are great to have as they add credibility to your new business. Showing you have been certified at working at a high standard helps customers feel safe and confident trusting you with their vehicles. You can use them to market your business too by putting them up in shop and advertising them through a website online.
The financial benefits of having certification means that your insurance premium will usually be lower as insurers will regard you as less of a risk or liability.
For more useful reading on starting a business as a tradesperson, check out more of our articles: