Garage Trades are very popular career choices - and with over 22 million vehicles on the road, there's always a demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers. Because it's popular work, you can expect a lot of competition in getting started, so it's important to do some preparation and finding out about the job first.
Types of Garage Skill
Light vehicle mechanics service and repair faults in cars and small vans. They account for half of all apprentices. Car mechanics/fitters work in all sorts of garages and workshops. Some are modern and spacious, with up to date equipment; many are traditional and small. Most mechanics work for garages which service and repair cars for private and business customers. You might work mainly on just one or two makes of vehicle if the garage has the local franchise, or you might deal with all types.
Heavy vehicle mechanics work on lorries, trucks and buses. About one in five young people go into this type of work. Some companies and organisations, which own a lot of vehicles, such as haulage contractors and coach companies employ their own mechanics to look after the fleet.
The usual way to get started is through an approved Training Programme like an Apprenticeship or an Advanced Apprenticeship.
During your training you will attend a college/training centre one day per week to gain a recognised Qualification. The rest of the time will be spent at your garage gaining basic practical skills and experience.
Where you can work as a Mechanic
Most mechanics work for small local garages or dealerships, or for branches of the big national motor groups. There are some openings for mechanics with firms which have their own transport fleets - bus and coach companies, removal and haulage firms.
Once qualified, experienced mechanics can eventually get jobs as: Foreman/woman, supervisor or manager; sales staff; patrol staff for the AA and RAC etc; inspectors and assessors for insurance companies; teaching in colleges of further education etc.
There's also the chance to become self-employed if you have a head for business - running your own garage or specialist firm, or offering roadside or on-the-drive repairs and maintenance to customers.