Have a knack for solving puzzles and an interest in cars? Want to get to grips with the inner workings of a Mercedes S-class or become an absolute pro at fixing massive HGVs? A mechanic apprenticeship could be the route to go.
What are mechanic apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships let you gain experience and skills on the job. You’ll split your time between work and college, studying towards a professional qualification while getting hands-on knowledge and gaining practical skills. At the same time you’ll earn a salary, and you’ll avoid the debt of university.
Mechanic apprenticeships are available at the intermediate and advanced levels. You’ll also see this role called vehicle technician. For example you could be a light vehicle technician, learning how to repair cars, motorbikes and small vans.
Or you could do a heavy vehicle technician apprenticeship, which would teach you how to repair and replace faulty parts on large trucks and lorries.
What will I learn?
Depending on the type of apprenticeship you’re interested in, and your employer, your tasks and duties could include:
- Carrying out maintenance and repair work.
- Inspecting customer vehicles.
- Learning the technical skills involved in serving and repairing vehicles, including removing and replacing bolts, screws, clips, seals and fasteners; and sometimes using cutting, drilling, filing and other fabrication skills.
- Making sure the workshop is safe and efficient by following rules and practices.
- Accessing information such as wiring diagrams, technical data, and vehicle repair information, then following the instruction.
- Using complex mechanical and electrical measuring equipment.
- Inspecting vehicles, and making sure they’re of a high quality before returning to customers.
- Service and maintain vehicles without supervision.
- Examining vehicle faults and then figuring out what caused the problems.
- Filling out forms and vehicle documents.
- Shadowing and learning from experienced mechanics / technicians.
- Helping to keep the garage or workshop clean and tidy.
- Figuring out how much time and money a particular job will cost.
- Keeping track of stock, parts and equipment.
Why should I do one?
A mechanic apprenticeship is a great way to get your career started. During the programme you’ll learn the knowledge that goes with all the hands-on skills you’re gaining on the job. That’s because most employers think that understanding the theory behind the role is as important as using a spanner.
After your apprenticeship you’ll be a fully qualified mechanic / vehicle technician. Depending on the particular programme, you could gain the following qualifications:
- Apprenticeship Standard in Automotive Retail Service and Maintenance Technician (Light Vehicle) qualification.
- Level 2 Motor Vehicle Maintenance qualification
- Functional skills.
As a mechanic / technician, your career path following the apprenticeship could include positions as a senior technician, workshop supervisor or garage manager. You may even go on to set up your own business.
What do I need in order to apply?
The skills, qualities and experience you’ll need to do a mechanic apprenticeship could include:
- Reliable, with a good work ethic.
- Know how to work efficiently.
- Great communication skills.
- Workshop experience would be a bonus, but is not essential.
- Able to work on your own as well as part of a team.
- A real interest in cars and vehicles.
- Methodical approach to solving problems.
- Able to follow both written and verbal instructions.
- Quick learner.
You will usually need GCSE in English and maths at grade 4 or above. This is not always essential. Check the job listing for the exact skills and qualifications each employer wants you to have.
Interested? Read what being an apprentice mechanic is really like.