• Background South West

  • career-training

    Sector Overview


    • The average starting salary of a motor vehicle technician is £15,000

    • This sector is one of the most popular for Apprenticeships

    • Road-side assistance engineers usually work 24-hour shift rotations, including weekends

    • An increasingly popular trade for women, with the UKs first ‘all female’ garage recently being opened

    • The AA has over 15,000,000 members

    The automotive industry really keeps the country moving. Every sector that uses transport will more than likely have need of professionals to sell them their vehicles, maintain them and fix them when they break down. This is a great industry to get into if you are looking to be self-employed, as many individuals have independent garages and dealerships.

    If you are working in a garage you may well be expected to work weekends and some shift and overtime work might be involved if a client needs a car by a certain time. If you are fixing cars at the side of the road you could be working any time of day or night and all over the country!



    Maintenance and Repair

    This is all about keeping vehicles on the road. You might specialise in cars, buses, motorcycles or campervans, as every vehicle needs a different sort of attention. The engines, tyres, transmission and the other parts differ depending on what you’re working on. You might be doing a routine service, or replacing whole mechanical systems in your daily regime; either way, I hope you like the smell of petrol! You’re looking at a starting salary of around £13,000 here.

    Body and Paint Technician

    From the tiniest chip to the biggest smash, prangs, knocks and little accidents are commonplace in the driving world and when the unexpected happens, people need their cars fixing up. This is where Body and Paint technicians come in; it might be a full body rework or it might just need a touch up of paint but no two jobs will ever be the same. This is quite a specialised field, so the salary is a little higher, usually between £13,500 (starting out) and £20,000.

    Roadside Assistance

    You can guarantee that at some point in the future, you’ll be in a vehicle that breaks down. 50 years ago, this would have meant walking miserably to the nearest town, but becoming stranded now is a thing of the past. Roadside Technicians fix broken down vehicles and if the repairs can’t be done there and then, they’ll tow your stricken vehicle to the nearest garage for you. Salaries here range from £13,000 to £16,000.

    Fitting Technician

    Fitting involves the installation of parts such as tyres, exhausts, batteries and brake pads while the customer waits. You’ll have to have a familiarity with a wide range of vehicles and brands so that you can fit the right parts to the right model of car. Salaries start at around £12,000 and rise to £15,000 when fully qualified.

    Parts Operations

    Selling parts is an important area of the automotive industry, as most people from customers right up to car dealerships and garages require parts to sell in their workplaces. You’ll be in charge of stock checking, dealing with customers (so best customer service voice on!), processing payments and organising distribution. Salaries are fairly low to start with, at about £9,000, but your income will increase quickly as you progress.

    Automotive Sales

    Selling cars isn’t easy; your earnings will be based on commission, so you’ll have to sell honestly but productively in order to please both your employer and your customers. Cars are expensive, so you’ll have to make sure the customer is getting exactly what they want for the price offered. You get a base salary of around £12,000 which is boosted by commission you make on sales. As you progress and grow in the industry, both your salary and your commission rate will significantly rise.




    If you are aged 16 and over you could enter an Apprenticeship, which would teach you the skills you need while you work and earn a salary. You’ll spend half your time in the classroom and half out on the job. Listed below are the apprenticeship frameworks for this sector, which when completed will give you a Level 2 qualification in the form of a BTEC, Diploma or NVQ:
    Roadside Assistance and Recovery • Vehicle Body and Paint Operations • Vehicle Fitting • Vehicle Maintenance and Repair • Vehicle Parts Operations • Vehicle Sales

    Advanced Apprenticeships

    These are the equivalent to A-Levels and can usually be joined after completing the associated Intermediate Apprenticeship. They are ideal for people who want a practical role as they learn while gaining valuable employment experience. People with Advanced Apprenticeships tend to progress up the ladder a lot quicker than those without, as the skills they learn are more suited to management and supervisory roles. Here are some of the Apprenticeship Frameworks for this sector and all of these will result in a Level 3 qualification such as a BTEC, a Diploma or an NVQ.
    Roadside Assistance and Recovery • Vehicle Body and Paint Operations • Vehicle Fitting • Vehicle Maintenance and Repair • Vehicle Parts Operations • Vehicle Sales


    A-Levels are the most popular gateway into university and are sought after by employers. However, for this industry it’s a less popular pathway to take due to the lack of practical learning the student receives. It could, however, be used to get onto a Foundation Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

    Foundation Degrees

    A Foundation Degree combines university lifestyle with practical, hands on work. It’s sort of like a cross between an Apprenticeship and an Honours Degree. They are often used as gateway qualifications to a full time Degree as they count towards the first two years of an Honours Degree. They usually take two years to complete and you’ll be both in the work place and on the university campus. There are a wide range of Foundation Degrees available for this sector, such as Mechanical Engineering and Motor Vehicle Performance.

    Vocational Qualifications

    This is the most popular route into the automotive industry, as it allows students to combine practical and theoretical study. In this way, students gain working experience while also learning about things like Maths, Science and English.

    More Info


    Case Study


    Apprentice takes top spot at national awards

    Remit works with almost 7,000 young people across the country, and its awards ceremony, which takes place on the 20th December at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nottingham, is there to celebrate the individuals who have excelled.

    David Price joined the Surf Blue Garage in Giltbrook as an Apprentice Vehicle Technician in 2009. He has a real passion for Minis, having converted one at the age of 15, and was delighted to secure a position with the local Mini specialist.

    But it was two years into his Apprenticeship that everything changed and David was presented with an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

    He said: “I’d really enjoyed working at the garage and the owner was ready to sell up and retire, so he gave me and the others an opportunity to buy the garage, before it went on the open market. I wanted to keep the business going and carry on with restoring these old Minis.

    “Remit were fantastic and gave me a gap year in my Apprenticeship to allow me to set up the business.

    “Not many people get to do their hobby as their job, but I do and I’m so glad I took on my apprenticeship. Winning this award is a fantastic honour; I hope I can inspire other young people to follow their dreams.”