A motor vehicle technician services, repairs and tests cars, vans, buses or lorries.
You could be:
carrying out routine servicing and tuning, repairing and replacing faulty systems and components
preparing or inspecting vehicles for the MOT certificate
using diagnostic equipment to trace mechanical and hydraulic faults – some of them hard to find
road testing vehicles you have repaired to make sure they are running properly
going out to broken down vehicles and carrying out repairs outdoors
reading manuals, worksheets and technical drawings
using pneumatic wrenches, lathes, jacks, hoists and computerised testing equipment
advising customers of necessary repairs and giving an estimate of cost and time.
You may specialise in a particular type of vehicle:
light vehicle mechanical and electronic systems – working with cars and vans
heavy goods mechanical and electronic systems – working with lorries, trucks, buses and coaches.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries may be based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW). At present the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.81 an hour (1 April 2022).
Salaries in Scotland for newly qualified motor vehicle technicians are usually around £11,500 to £16,000 a year. With experience this can rise to between £20,000 and £30,000 a year or more.
You will work in garages, workshops or depots, which may be cold and draughty in winter and hot in summer.
You might have to work on breakdowns at the roadside, in all weathers.
It may be cramped and uncomfortable to repair parts under dashboards and when lying under vehicles.
You will work with oil and grease and may use barrier cream to protect your hands.
You will have to lift heavy parts, perhaps by yourself or by using lifting equipment.
There may be opportunities for overtime and you might have to work shifts or be on call at times.
Most entrants start through a Modern Apprenticeship in Vehicle Maintenance and Repair.
There are separate apprenticeship schemes for light vehicle mechanic and heavy vehicle mechanic.
Most employers look for English, Maths and a science or technological subject at least to National 4.
You could study the Foundation Apprenticeship in Automotive (SCQF Level 4) in S3-S6, which can help to get into a relevant Modern Apprenticeship.
You will usually have to take an aptitude test.
Some entrants start by doing a full time college course and then go on to do an apprenticeship.
As a qualified motor mechanic you will need a driving licence.
You may need normal colour vision if working with electrical wiring.
What Does it Take?
You need to be:
patient in finding and fixing faults
able to work to deadlines
able to follow written instructions
able to work reliably without supervision
able to work accurately paying attention to detail.
You need to have:
an interest in motor vehicles
good concentration skills
an up to date knowledge of new engine technology.
Training for a Modern Apprenticeship usually lasts three years. You would attend college or a training centre on a day or block release basis.
You would complete Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair or Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair at SCQF Level 7.
You might attend college full time but go to an employer for work placements.
You may work towards the IMI Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Accreditation. This involves sitting practical exams and completing online knowledge tests. There are three levels of job roles within IMI Accreditation Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair: Service Maintenance Technician, Diagnostic Technician and Master Technician.
In larger companies, with experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.
With further training you can qualify as an MOT tester. You need to be sponsored by a vehicle testing station and have gained four years' experience as a qualified mechanic.
You might move on to become a trainer or instructor.
You might move into automotive engineering or automotive production work.
You could set up in business for yourself.
Some motor mechanics or vehicle technicians specialise in work with motor racing vehicles - ranging from rally cars to Formula 1 vehicles.
For more information pleae see organisations listed below: