The automotive and mechanic sector involves both design and manufacturing. Those moving into this industry could become automotive engineers, and can focus on a wide range of specialisms. They could get involved with the research and development side of things; you could be designing the individual parts of cars; you could be in charge of overseeing the technical side of automobile manufacturing; or you could be getting stuck into some testing and maintenance duties.
Automotive engineers who focus on research and development take innovative designs and figure out how they can be turned into actual car parts, conducting research and finding appropriate solutions. Automotive engineers develop the constituent parts of a vehicle, refining them and making them more effective. This could be anything from rain-sensing wipers to environmentally friendly exhaust pipes.
Automobile design is another area in this industry, the process of designing the appearance and functionality of automobiles, including cars, trucks, vans, buses, and even motorcycles. Once a concept has been formed, an automobile designer will then make basic sketches of the automobile using a programme called CAD, or computer-aided drafting. This computer software can then be used to make a much more detailed drawing of the vehicle, 3D images that include every little detail of a vehicle. After the drawings are complete, automobile designers will also usually create a scale model, or sculpture, of the vehicle using clay.
Those moving into this industry could also focus on testing automotive parts, making sure they function effectively and comply with rigorous safety regulations. This could even mean using crash test dummies to ensure that cars are safe enough for passengers.
Jobs are also available in manufacturing engineering – determining how development and design ideas are actually put into action, making sure that car parts can be produced and assembled effectively.
Another option is to specialise in automobile maintenance and after-sales support. In this area, you’ll be providing a technical service to clients and customers once the vehicles have been released onto the market.
Car mechanic jobs
On the mechanic side of the industry, mechanics working with cars perform many tasks in the maintenance, diagnostic testing, repair, and inspection of small trucks and cars.
They work on engines, drive belts, transmissions, and electronic systems, such as steering, brakes, and accident-avoidance systems. Some mechanics work more often on trucks or cars that use alternative fuels like electricity or ethanol, or specialise in various areas of auto mechanics, like, brake repairs, air-conditioning (which requires knowledge of government regulations), transmissions, or front-end mechanics.
Automotive & mechanical apprenticeships
School leavers could access this industry via apprenticeships. Those on Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2) could train in roles like coach mechanical service technician, bus electrical service technician and body repairer.
Those on Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3) could train in roles like bus/coach mechanical maintenance and repair technician, electrical maintenance and repair technician, coach body builder and repairer, and bus diagnostic technician.
School leavers could also look at the automotive and mechanical-related courses on offer at further education college and university.