Vehicle body repairers, also known as panel beaters or body repair technicians, cover all aspects of mending and replacing of accident damaged vehicles including chassis alignment techniques and replacing body panels.
You could be:
examining the damaged panel or part and deciding whether to repair or replace it
removing, filling in or smoothing out dents and scratches
removing and replacing panels if they are beyond repair
making new panels from sheet metal
using special equipment to straighten out the chassis (frame) of the vehicle if it is bent or damaged
using hand and power tools for welding and soldering the panel back on to the vehicle
cleaning the repaired area ready for refinishing
keeping a record of the work you do to give to the customer.
You may specialise:
light vehicle body repairer – works with cars, vans and motorcycles
heavy vehicle body repairer – works with lorries, trucks, buses, coaches and train carriages.
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). Apprentices may earn between £7,400 to £13,000 a year.
A qualified vehicle body repairer may earn around £20,000 a year. You can increase this by overtime and bonuses. More experienced motor professionals can earn up to around £40,000 a year.
You will work in a body repair workshop where there could be a lot of dust, noise and paint fumes.
You may work in cramped and uncomfortable positions and you will wear protective clothing.
You might have to lift heavy parts by yourself or by using lifting equipment.
You will work around 40 hours a week and sometimes do overtime.
You would normally work Monday to Friday, but may have to do overtime in the evenings and weekends.
Most entrants start through a Modern Apprenticeship in Vehicle Body and Paint.
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 usually have to sit an aptitude test for entry.
Some entrants start by doing a full time college course and then go on to do an apprenticeship.
You could go to college on a day release basis whilst in employment.
You need to be fit, as you may have to lift heavy parts and work in cramped and uncomfortable positions.
What Does it Take?
You need to be:
good with your hands
attentive to detail
accurate and careful
able to follow instructions (written and verbal)
able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
able to work on your own and as part of a team.
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 SVQ Vehicle Body Repair and Alignment at SCQF Level 6.
You may work towards the IMI Accreditation: Panel or IMI Accreditation: Cosmetic Repair. This involves sitting practical exams and completing online knowledge tests. There are two levels of job roles within IMI Accreditation Panel: Technician and Senior Technician. IMI Accreditation Cosmetic Repair has three levels: PDR Technician, Technician and Senior Technician.
You will need to keep up to date with new materials that vehicle manufacturers use.
After getting experience, you could become a senior technician, supervisor or manager.
You could move into training or become self-employed.
For more information please see organisations listed below: