By Debbie Holden 02 Sep 2019 6 min read

How to become a mechanic in the UK

Looking for a career change where you can get your hands on a motor vehicle? Why not pursue a career as a mechanic?

Working as a mechanic involves working on all vehicle mechanics and electrics, from engines to exhaust systems to air-conditioning and security.


How can I become a mechanic?

If you want to become a mechanic, you can pursue a couple of different routes. If you’re still at school, there might be pre-apprenticeships on offer (see below for more information). If you’ve just finished school, you can look to find an apprenticeship straight away, or go to college first, and then pursue an apprenticeship afterwards. You might also consider volunteering prior to pursuing the career too.



A common route is to complete an apprenticeship scheme in vehicle mechanics, but you’ll need GCSEs in maths, English and science, or equivalent qualifications to be accepted on to the course. 

A paid apprenticeship route might be split into the following certifications:

  • Level 1 certificate or diploma in vehicle maintenance
  • Level 2 certificate in light vehicle maintenance and repair principles
  • Level 2 certificate or diploma in vehicle technology


You can find out more about the apprenticeship route to become a mechanic from the Institute of the Motor Industry (they also offer pre-apprenticeships to students aged 14-16) or the UKLPG. 


College courses

Examples of college courses include the Motor Vehicle Engineering course, which you can find out more about on the City and Guilds website, and Plant and Vehicle Maintenance, but you can also find a range of mechanic courses via providers like the National Construction College (NCC). It will likely take around three to four years to complete these types of courses. 




You can also look for volunteering opportunities where you can service cars and equipment. Find projects where you can explore your technical and practical skills.


What skills would help me to become a mechanic?

If you’re interested in becoming a mechanic, it’s helpful to know that this type of career will require the following skillset from the off:

  • Problem solving
  • Strong communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Physical fitness

Where can my career take me as a mechanic?

Once you have gained more experience as a mechanic, you could move on to become a senior technician, workshop supervisor or garage manager. 

You might also look into becoming a breakdown engineer or MOT tester, or specialise in a particular areas like motorsport engineering.

Working on electric or hybrid cars could also be an option, as well as tuning and modifying vehicles for higher performance. 

Another option would be to set up your own business. 


Where would I work?

Depending on who you secure a role within the future, you’ll be able to find work with garages, manufacturers’ service centres, freight, transport and construction companies, vehicle hire and breakdown organisations, fast-fit outlets and car dealerships.

You might also find opportunities with local authorities, the police and taxi organisations too, or companies with large fleets of vehicles. The possibilities are varied. 


What would I get paid as a mechanic?

The average starting salary for a qualified car mechanic in the UK is £18,000 a year.

A more experienced mechanic with a number of years under their belt can expect to see a wgae between £21,000 – £27,000 a year, dependent on location.

Take a look at the average salary for UK car mechanics across different regions here.


After I’ve completed my course, what will my first steps into a mechanic job be?

Once you’ve completed your training, search on job boards like InAutomotive for engineering maintenance jobs that include words like the following: 

Applying for mechanic jobs? Make sure your CV is in tip top shape with our special CV guide. If this is your first application for mechanic jobs, our mechanic CV template might be of help too.

Landed your first interview? Take a look at the mechanic interview questions and answers blog we put together.

Happy job hunting!