Learning on the job

Get the best start in the motor industry by learning while you work -become an apprentice, says Libbi Macgregor


If you are 16- to 24-years-old, want to succeed in the world of work and are not afraid to commit yourself to two years of training and study, an apprenticeship could be for you. This is a two-year programme that will allow you to pursue a career in the motor industry and gain well-recognised qualifications. The entry requirements for an apprenticeship are quite flexible, as they are not based completely on academic results. But if this sounds like an easy way into the industry, don't be fooled. An apprenticeship is a great way to begin your career, but finding a good programme, and the right programme for you, can take a bit of work.


Getting paid to study! It doesn't get much better than that. This is one of the great perks of doing an apprenticeship. They are becoming more popular among people who not only want a chance to earn while they learn but to be part of a programme that is both educational and practical.

The best route to an apprenticeship is to apply to an employer directly, describing what you are good at and how you would be an asset to their business on an apprenticeship programme. Alternatives include approaching a local college or motor industry training provider and applying to enter their apprenticeship programme. This route could include employment or a work placement, depending on whether your local employers are recruiting. Some providers offer full-time programmes, but you will be responsible for finding work at the end.


There are many good apprenticeship programmes within the industry, which are all slightly different. However, there are some features that you can expect to find on any good programme.

Once your work placement is finalised you should agree your individual learning/training plan with your employer and learning provider. You will be spending the majority of your time - up to five days a week - with your employer or on work placements, developing your technical knowledge and the skills that can be applied in the motor industry.

You will also spend time with your learning provider, either the manufacturer, local training provider or local college. Your time there could be organised in a regular pattern - you might spend time on the programme once a week - or you might go on block release of up to two weeks at any one time. Equally, it could be a combination of the two.

You could do your apprenticeship in vehicle fitting, vehicle maintenance and repair, vehicle body and paint operations, vehicle parts operations, roadside assistance and recovery and vehicle sales. While you are on your Apprenticeship programme, your employer or work placement provider and the learning provider will induct you onto the programme, support you, share information about how you are getting on, and work together to make sure you are not overloaded. One of the aims of the programme is to see you develop as a person, as well as teaching you new skills that will be with you for life.

On the apprenticeship you will learn about how cars are maintained and why it is so important that cars are safe to drive. You will learn what it is like to work in the motor industry and you will gain an insight into the different jobs available. You will also develop essential skills that are needed to be successful at work.



There are plenty of opportunities and different routes into the industry that can develop into a successful career for your son or daughter. Examples include becoming a technician, working in roadside assistance and recovery, hiring cars, selling cars, and working in the motorsport industry.

With experience, they can develop their career by moving into a management role or by adding additional areas of expertise to their job. Put simply, the two-year programme for an apprenticeship and three-year programme for an advanced apprenticeship will enable your son or daughter to pursue an automotive career and gain well-recognised qualifications.

Most of their time will be spent with their employer or work placement provider, developing technical knowledge and skills that can be applied in the motor industry. Alongside this, they spend time with a learning provider, which could be a manufacturer, local training provider or local college.

Students will be inducted on to the programme, and supported through regular assessment, monitoring and, where possible, individual mentoring with peers. Information will be shared about how they are getting on and providers will work as a team to make sure your son or daughter is progressing.


If you want to find out more about apprenticeships in the motor industry, keep an eye on the Automotive Skills website,

If you want to find out more about apprenticeships in your local area contact:

England: Connexions Service,

Northern Ireland: Careers Service Northern Ireland,

Scotland: Careers Scotland,

Wales: Careers Wales,

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