A career in the automotive industry can be very satisfying, especially if this is something that you’ve had a desire to do for some time. You may have researched different sectors within the industry and decided what you want to focus on and if this happens to be in vehicle repair, here’s what you need to know to get started in the field.
What does vehicle repair entail?
The purpose of a vehicle body repairer is to mend damaged vehicle parts and bodywork using metalworking and finishing techniques.
When cars, motorcycles and larger vehicles are damaged in an accident, they are taken to a bodyshop to be repaired. A bodyshop can work on specialised details or they can complete the whole process for start to finish. The person who specialises in repairing the panels of the vehicle is called a panel beater or body repair technician.
What will your day-to-day tasks include?
The first job will be to assess the damage to a vehicle and to establish how to repair it. This may include removing damaged parts or panels in order to get to the route of an issue. Problem solving is a great skill to work on for this.
It then comes down to repairing damage that is fixable or making new panels to fit into place to replace damaged ones. You could be filling, welding, smoothing out - depending on the extent of the damage.
What skills do you need?
To progress in a career in body repair you will need good customer care skills and be able to communicate well verbally with people.
You will need to pay attention to detail and be thorough in your approach.
You may be working on your own for many tasks and therefore a proactive and determined attitude to work is a good trait, along with persistence and desire to succeed.
Through your training, you will learn how to operate the specialised machinery and how to fix them when they need repairing.
You will need to have a good understanding of all automotive systems and the mechanics behind the various vehicles along with a good understanding of specific materials used to make repairs.
An apprenticeship is available for this type of job and you could get started with an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in vehicle body and paint. You could also do an accident and repair technician advanced apprenticeship.
The qualifications you’ll usually be required to have prior to starting would be GSCE’s in maths and English for an intermediate apprenticeship
How much money will you make?
Depending on where you are working and what organisation you are working within, the average salary in the UK for auto body technicians is £22,898.
Working hours and environment
Some companies work with a shift pattern but most companies work between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday with possible Saturday mornings or evenings in the mix. You would expect to be working in a workshop, this may include a paint spraying booth which would mean that you’ll need to wear protective clothing and masks, overalls and gloves.
If you’re new to working in the automotive industry, we’d love to help you get started or point you in the right direction. Feel free to get in touch to start a conversation.