More than 180,000 people work in automotive manufacturing in the UK, with a further 800,000 people working across the broader automotive industry. There is clearly a career for everyone in the automotive sector if they have a strong interest in vehicles, engines, or design.
Career paths can lead you into roles such as engineering, mechanics, CAD design, maintenance, body repair, glass installation, and automotive electricians. You might find yourself working in a parts store, for an insurance company, as an educator, racing team member, or in a bus depot.
The automotive sector gives you a genuine opportunity to turn a hobby into a career.
Your core responsibilities might include restoring vehicles, maintaining a company’s fleet, or keeping agricultural machinery up and running. Your daily tasks can include running diagnostics with special testing equipment, critical thinking, or see you designing vehicle concepts.
Keeping up with the latest technological and mechanical innovations will be essential. You will be just as likely to be working on hybrid and electric vehicles as you are on combustion engines.
The role can be critically important in protecting people’s safety by assessing a vehicle’s roadworthiness. You shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself disassembling and assembling engines or overhauling components. Specialising as an automotive electrician will see you working on computer-controlled electric ignition systems, fuel injectors, suspension, airbags, cruise control, air conditioning, and automatic transmissions.
You can start an automotive career with an apprenticeship, a nationally accredited certification, or a mechanical engineering degree. This creates a wide bracket of potential earnings, but with the right qualifications and skilled experience, an automotive engineer or CAD technician earns on average £28,000 per year.
As you further develop your mechanical or electrical aptitude, highly experienced automotive engineers can earn £66,000 per year or more.
An automotive career can be extremely satisfying, with almost endless opportunities and career paths. From small local firms servicing cars, trucks, and motorcycles to working in the great outdoors at open sites such as quarries, your career could be as unique as you.
You should have a strong desire to keep learning, whether you have a desk-based role or find yourself in a workshop.
Great automotive technicians are good with their hands, have a familiarity with vehicles, and are relatively fit. Your practical skills will need to be matched with prowess in problem-solving, and you should have a talent for analytical thinking.
Good eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and an organised approach will see you succeed. CAD technicians will need excellent design and computer skills, and your communication skills will be needed to work in a team or meet customers successfully.