Do you enjoy working with your hands, and finding out how things work? Have you got a strong interest in motor vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to buses and trucks? If so, this career area might be the one for you.
The digitisation of automotive manufacturing has meant increased productivity and shorter time to market. Vehicles of all types are becoming more complex, with more onboard computers and internet access. So, diagnosing faults in vehicle computer networks and repairing electronic faults has become more important.
The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy, providing over 846,000 jobs, with 682,000 of these outside the manufacturing sub-sector. 153,000 of these jobs were created in the last 10 years.
This career area includes jobs in:
To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.
Possible employers include:
You might be able to become a vehicle technician specialising in the repair and maintenance of vehicles used by emergency and rescue services, with organisations such as Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, airport fire and rescue services and the Scottish Ambulance Service.
There are also relevant opportunities in the Armed Services, particularly in the Army, for repairing and maintaining military vehicles, from light armoured vehicles to tanks.
According to the IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry), the UK automotive industry is performing well, with it having the highest vacancy rates in 20 years. In 2020 exported products were worth £42.4 billion (11% of the UK’s total export goods). It also predicts that there will be 55,000 new jobs by 2030, plus new and emerging occupations due to the development of technologies.
The sale of hybrid and electric vehicles is rising, which in turn requires the need for more qualified technicians. The IMI report that in 2021 9,000 vehicle technicians undertook TechSafeTM training, which is the highest amount since 2016. It’s predicted that the number of TechSafeTM qualified technicians required to work with electric vehicles by 2030 is 90,000.
Of the number of people employed in the automotive industry, 398,765 of those are in automotive occupations, with a breakdown of (including average salary):
Garage Managers and Proprietors 25,285 (£29,666); Vehicle Technicians, Mechanics and Electricians 186,871 (£25,431); Vehicle Body Builders and Repairers 24,786 (£25,367); Vehicle Paint Technicians 12,771 (£25,940); Vehicle and Parts Salespersons and Advisers 56,938 (£20,049); Assemblers (Vehicles and Metal Goods) 44,897 (£29,830); Tyre, Exhaust and Windscreen Fitters 13,512 (£20,843); Vehicle Valeters and Cleaners 33,705 (£17,664).
Most young people join the industry by doing a Modern Apprenticeship, which involves on the job training and going to a college or training centre part time. There is now also the opportunity to start training at school with the Foundation Apprenticeship in Automotive.
The Institute of the Motor Industry (The IMI) is the sector skills council for the motor trade. You will find useful information on their careers website Autocity.
Institute of Motor Industry