If you have a love of cars and all things mechanical, then a career as an automotive engineer could be right up your street. But what does the job entail, and where do you start? In this guide, we are going to look at how aspiring mechanics can get the skills they need for a fast-moving career in the automotive industry.
Why work in the automotive industry?
The Australian automotive industry is worth around $35 billion a year and employs over 400,000 people. Due to the varied nature of the industry, those working in it can expect to enjoy a fast-paced and varied career. Automotive mechanics for example can go on to specialize in body shop repair and engine tuning or even become a race car mechanic.
But as with most industries, getting your foot in the door is the hardest part. Employers value experience, which can be hard to come by for beginners. But apprenticeships offer an opportunity for aspiring mechanics to gain both the skills and experience they need to build a rewarding career as an automotive mechanic.
What is an apprenticeship?
An automotive engineering apprenticeship is a three-year program which consists of both on-the-job training and supplementary workshop training which has to be undertaken with a Registered Training Organization such as TAFE.
Apprentices are paid a wage by their employer, which is subsidised by the government. The amount you get paid will depend on your employer, but the average wage for an automotive apprentice with 1-4 years experience is $18.42 per hour. Once your apprenticeship is complete you can expect to earn around $33.00 per hour.
What qualifications will you achieve?
During the program, apprentices will work towards achieving the Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology certification. This is a nationally recognised qualification which has been developed by the automotive industry to provide the skills you need to forge a rewarding career in the automotive sector.
This certification provides a broad overview of vehicle repair and should allow you to get a job in almost any automotive repair shop. But it is by no means the end of your training. Once you have achieved this basic certification you can go on to specialise in other areas, including electrical repair, servicing technology or air conditioning.
What does an automotive mechanic do?
A motor mechanic is a tradesperson who uses tools to repair automotive machinery. They usually start as generalists, carrying out general servicing duties to help keep motor vehicles in a serviceable condition. But they usually go on to specialise in an area such as air-conditioning, hydraulics or electrical repair.
The task of an automotive mechanic includes establishing the job requirements from the service schedule or job sheet. Helping to Identify faults reported by the customer. Replacing worn-out components such as brake pads and exhaust systems. And replacing defective components under warranty.
What skills will you develop?
Automotive mechanics need to develop several skills and attributes including:
Exceptional problem-solving skills
Strong communication skills
The ability to read and understand complicated technical information
Excellent troubleshooting skills
Good team working skills
The ability to operate tools and equipment
Organisational skills (You will be expected to work under your own initiative)
Where to start
Apprenticeships are a great way to start your career in the automotive industry. You will gain the qualifications, skills and experience you need to forge a rewarding career in this exciting industry. But best of all you will earn a competitive salary while doing it.