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New recruits: Jonathan Picking, car painter at the Agnew Repair Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ana Arendar speaks to young people who have completed their training and recently started work in the automotive industry

I became interested in working in the motor industry after listening to a talk from a career developer who came to my school. I then did an NVQ. It took three years to complete, but it was great, and when I finished studying, I started working full-time at Agnew.

My job involves spray-painting cars that are brought into the garage. Some are brand new and others are damaged, but mostly they come in after having been dented and I’ll prepare them and paint them. One of the best jobs I had was painting a silver Porsche. It had been brought into the garage because someone had got a nail and scraped it across the bonnet and down one full side. It was up to me to make it look new again.

I recently came second in the nationwide young painter of the year competition at Thatcham. I won a glass plaque and when I got back to Belfast, my boss had bought me a new spray gun! Eventually, I’d like to move up the ladder and go into estimating – where you appraise the damages done to a car and order parts – or management.

TOP TIP: "Set yourself a goal. Decide whether you want to continue work on cars or perhaps go into management - that way you have something to work towards."