The start of your career
Once you are employed with one of our member companies, our training staff will be on hand to ensure you receive the most suitable training in order to achieve the objectives of your training plan. In a garage you will be working in a service industry where you are often brought into contact with customers, so a friendly and helpful personality will be a valuable asset. In a garage or in transport the work is varied and satisfying, and when you are assisting at roadside breakdowns, or collecting parts and vehicles you will be out and about as well.
Technological change is continuous in this industry, so even when fully skilled you will need to keep up to date with the latest models, equipment and techniques.
The rewards are good, not only in pay, but in having a satisfying and responsible job, having a skill that is always in demand and in knowing that you work in an industry that has a long standing tradition of promotion from shop floor to fill senior positions.
Health and Safety. Peoples safety and lives will depend on you, so you must be reliable and responsible towards your workmates as well as to the customer. Compulsory safety equipment will be provided to include overalls, eye protection etc.
The body repairers craft involves repairing all kinds of damage to vehicle body work and trim, from minor bumps and water leaks to a complete crash rebuild. As an apprentice body repairer you would learn to use special hand and machine tools and jigs, and become skilled in welding, brazing and soldering, metal cutting and forming including ‘panel beating’. You would repair and replace body parts, smoothing and finishing ready for the perfect paint finish that our customers expect.
The vehicle painters job is to obtain that finish with the increasingly sophisticated equipment and paints in use today. To the Body Repairer or the Painter, no two jobs are ever the same, and a skilled person will normally have to deal with every vehicle make and type.
To become a body repairer, ideally you should be studying a craft subject ie. Resistant Materials. You must also have a special aptitude for shape, feel and colour that makes this trade almost a kind of art.
Mechanic / Technician
The Light Vehicle Mechanic / Technicians are key people, and the success of a garage depends on how efficiently the technician can carry out maintenance work, and diagnose and rectify faults on a customers vehicle. In the road haulage and passenger transport world it is the Heavy Vehicle Mechanics / Technicians whose skill keeps fleets of commercial vehicles moving safely and efficently, and these in turn keep our factories and shops supplied.
You should understand that as an apprentice technician your first few months may be spent in very general work. The lives and safety of many people rest fair and square in your hands, and we must be sure not only of your skill, but also your sense of responsibility.
During your training you will study the principles of engines, transmission, suspension and brakes, and learn to use instruments for measuring engine and braking performance, steering angles, wheel balance and so on. You will also learn how to read workshop drawing and wiring diagrams; to diagnose and rectify faults and to fit components such as pins and bushes, pistons and valves, within recognised limits and tolerances.
As a Heavy Vehicle Technician you must be able to do even more than this, for these vehicles are far bigger, more complicated and costly, and perhaps dirtier than any car, and there are far more types and variations. You must not only be competent to deal with every one, but physically capable of using the special techniques and machinery for handling heavy and complex component parts.
No garage can function well without a good parts team to supply whatever parts or accessories the public, and its own Sales, Service or Body departments may demand. Just think of the hundreds of different models of car, and of the thousands of parts in each. It is a garages job to see that customers aren’t disappointed…and that means a lot of organisation in the parts department.
As an apprentice parts person you will need very special training, and you will see how cars are constructed and repaired, and also learn about warehousing, salesmanship, merchandising and display, and the use of sophisticated microfilm and computer techniques for stock management. This is a particularly good background for managerial positions and an ambitious person will often reach this level quite early on in a parts career.