Between 2000 and 2005 the total number of Automotive apprenticeship commencements increased by 205% across Australia. Trevor Ridley is one apprentice who joined the forces of apprentices entering the Industry in 2005, and he chats to SkillsOne about what’s involved in being an Automotive Mechanic.
Trevor Ridley is a fourth year Automotive Mechanic. Not unlike his mechanical work, his words are precise and to the point. “I’ve always had a love for mechanical sort of things.” say Trevor. He’s not quite sure where his passion came from, as none of his family are involved in the mechanical trades.
“My workdays are around 8am till 4pm – but I’m usually at work around 7. I work on cars that come in, anywhere from 1 or 2 cars a day, to as many as ten, depending on what needs to be done.” Trevor says.
And what exactly needs to be done? “Servicing and repairing vehicles.”
However, the TAFE course listing in Automotive Mechanics go into a bit more detail of what’s involved in the job as a mechanic. “[It] covers automotive repair and servicing in areas such as air conditioning, cooling, cylinder head reconditioning, driveline/transmission, exhaust fitting, steering and suspension, tyre fitting and underbody.”
As a final year apprentice, he has finished his TAFE component, which only lasts the first three years of his apprenticeship. “It’s one whole day of TAFE a week – paid!”
In Trevor’s workshop there is only three workers, and he’s the only apprentice – so he gets loads of hand-on experience, which is, of course, the best part. “The best part is hands-on work – and doing work in the workshop.”
Trevor explains the most challenging part of his work is the technical side of problem solving. The hardest part is finding problems you can’t solve – especially electrical based problems. “There’s a computer in every car these days. Electrical problems are more time-consuming. So usually we outsource to an electrician, because there’ll always be mechanical work to do.”
The skills needed to be a mechanic, Trevor explains, include problem solving skills and enjoying hands-on work - and possibly not being afraid of getting dirty! “You always get dirty. You get dirty hands. And go deaf – it’s very noisy – but bearable!”
His plans now?
“When I finish, I just want to keep working. Eventually I’ll open my own place – with time and experience.”
For each year until 2010, around 1,620 additional workers will be needed in the Automotive industry – with this demand for skilled workers in mind, we can see that Trevor is well on his way to having a very successful career!