5 jobs in the Motor Vehicle industry

Whether it's behind the desk or under the hood, there are a wide variety of different career paths in the motor vehicle industry, here are five jobs you can pursue with qualifications in motor vehicles.


Whether it’s behind the desk or under the hood, there are a wide variety of different career paths in the motor vehicle industry. 

As of February 2021, there were over 32 million cars registered in the UK alone, averaging at least 1 car per household. 

The motor vehicle industry employs over 38,000 people in the UK and produces over £6 billion towards the UK economy. As a result, the demand for newly qualified, skilled mechanics and vehicle technicians is constantly rising. 

With this in mind, here are five jobs that you can apply for with qualifications in motor vehicle. 

Motor mechanic 

The most obvious career pathway is to become a motor mechanic, who are responsible for repairing and servicing cars and vans. 

Do I need a degree? 

No – With many of the job roles mentioned within the motor industry, there is no direct requirement for a degree qualification, however applicants would be expected to have both experience and qualifications within the motor industry, some of which are offered at Oaklands College here

Alternatively, you can also progress into a career as a mechanic by following the apprenticeship route. More information on apprenticeships at Oaklands College can be found here

What will I do? 

As a motor mechanic, you may: 

  • talk to customers about their vehicle’s problems
  • find and diagnose faults using hand tools or a computer
  • advise customers on what repairs are needed
  • estimate time and costs for jobs
  • repair and replace faulty parts
  • road test vehicles to check repairs
  • carry out scheduled servicing and maintenance
  • fit accessories like stereos and alarms
  • check stock levels and parts
  • update vehicle service records 

What salary could I earn? 

The starting salary for a motor vehicle mechanic ranges from £18,000 to £20,000 per year. Experienced mechanics can earn upwards of £30,000. A typical working week could consist of 38-45 hours per week which can be spread across evenings and weekends. 

Motor vehicle breakdown engineer

What does a breakdown engineer do? 

A motor vehicle breakdown engineer helps people whose vehicles have broken down. 

Do I need a degree? 

No – As with the majority of job roles within the motor industry, you will not need a degree in order to apply for entry-level roles. You can begin to apply for this job role once you have progressed with qualifications in either a relevant college course, or an apprenticeship programme. 

Motor Vehicle courses at Oaklands College can be viewed here, with apprenticeship programmes available here

What will I do? 

A typical day as a motor vehicle breakdown engineer could include: 

  • making sure the vehicle, driver and passengers are safe
  • examining the vehicle to find and diagnose the fault
  • carrying out roadside repairs
  • towing or transporting the vehicle to a garage if major repair work is needed
  • filling in record sheets for each job

What salary could I earn? 

The typical salary for an entry-level motor vehicle breakdown engineer starts at around £20,000. More experienced professional can eventually apply for roles and progress up the employment ladder towards salaries averaging around £40,000. A typical working week would comprise of around 42 to 44 ours a week, which can take up evenings, weekends and bank holidays. 

Auto electrician 

What is an auto electrician? 

On first glance, you would expect an auto electrician to have studied Electrical Installation, or a similar course. However, an auto electrician can fit and repair electrics in motor vehicles with qualifications in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

Do I need a degree? 

No – You can apply for this role once you have achieved a Level 2 or higher in a relevant course area to the job role. Alternatively, interested applicants can also progress into this role via the apprenticeship route. 

What will I do? 

As an auto electrician, a typical day comprises of: 

  • taking readings, using a laptop or hand-held device connected to an engine’s electronic control unit
  • checking and test wiring and parts in older vehicles using portable instruments
  • use readings to find faults
  • researching faults, using manufacturers’ circuit diagrams and manuals
  • repairing or replace faulty parts
  • retesting the system to make sure everything is working correctly and safely – this may include road testing the vehicle
  • filling out a repair sheet listing the work you have done

What salary could I earn? 

The typical entry-level salary for an auto electrician begins at £17,000 per year. experienced individuals could expect to earn up to £37,000 per year, working 40 to 44 ours a week, usually on-call. 

Garage manager

What is a garage manager? 

Garage managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of a garage workshop. 

Do I need a degree? 

No – You could work towards this role by doing a relevant college course like a Level 3 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair. 

You could start as a motor mechanic or service technician and work your way into management through training and promotion. 

What will I do? 

  • supervise a team of mechanics
  • give quotes for costs and timescales
  • organise bookings and assign work to staff
  • check the quality of work
  • advise customers about work carried out
  • control a budget
  • order parts
  • recruit new staff
  • manage fleet accounts for commercial clients 

What salary could I earn? 

The average salary for a garage manager starts at around £24,000 and can rise to £36,000 with experience. 

You could operate from your own business, or as manager of a vehicle distributor or showroom. 

Motorsport engineer 

What is a motorsport engineer? 

If you’re a fan of Formula 1 or MotoGP, then this is the role for you. Motorsport engineers design, build and test racing cars and bikes and the nature of the role can take you all over the world. 

Do I need a degree? 

Yes – You will usually need to complete a foundation degree, higher national diploma and/or undergraduate degree. You could also make yourself more of an appealing prospect to employers by pursuing an mechanical or electric engineering course. 

In addition to this, in order to stand out from a large talent pool of applicants, it is advised that you look for courses that include work experience placements with manufacturers and suppliers, or source your own additional work experience alongside your studies. 

There are schemes like Formula Student and Greenpower that are aimed at people who want to get into motorsport engineering. 

What will I do? 

As a motorsport engineer working in design, testing or production, you may:

  • assess new ideas by looking at performance, strength, costs and safety
  • design prototypes with computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • test components and bodywork 
  • test working models on the track 
  • build production models and carrying out quality control checks
  • ‘finish’ vehicles with the team’s colours and sponsorship logos

As a motorsport engineer working in racing, you may:

  • set up vehicles to suit track and weather conditions
  • monitor engine speed and other data during races
  • fine tune the vehicle and send technical instructions to the driver or rider
  • carry out ‘after-tests’ on vehicles after a race to look for signs of damage

The role could also involve travel to and from a variety of countries for particular race weekends. 

What salary could I earn? 

The starting salary for a motorsport engineer begins at £18,000 and can climb to £60,000 with experience. Typically, you should expect to work around 39 to 41 hours a week which can span across evenings, weekends and bank holidays. 

Scroll to Top