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Also Known As
- Car Mechanic
- Light Vehicle Mechanic
- Mechanic, Car
- Mechanic, Light Vehicle
Motor mechanics are involved with the servicing, maintenance and repair of cars and light vehicles. The work is wide ranging and includes routine servicing in accordance with manufacturers' recommended procedures and the testing and approval of the structural, mechanical and electrical systems of the vehicle for the National Car Test (NCT) or Department of Transport test when required.
Motor mechanics carry out the routine servicing and repair of cars and other light vehicles such as vans and motorcycles. A vehicle may be due for a service after it has travelled a certain number of kilometres or after a certain period of time, according to instructions set out by the vehicle's manufacturers.
Mechanics also repair vehicles that have broken down or been involved in accidents.
Servicing involves making routine checks according to a list, finding faults or problems, overhauling or replacing worn or faulty parts, and using special equipment and road tests to make sure the vehicle performs as it should.
Sometimes customers take their vehicles to mechanics to investigate a particular mechanical fault. Solving these problems may involve stripping down the affected part of the car on a bench or in a workshop area, finding the faulty components and replacing them, and then putting all the parts together again. Mechanics tend to replace parts rather than repair them because this is quicker and therefore less costly.
During the course of their work, mechanics also deal with electrical and electronic systems, which are becoming more and more sophisticated on modern vehicles. For example, mechanics may connect laptop computers to a vehicle's electronic control unit, using an on-screen menu to choose the part of the vehicle they want to investigate. The computer is able to find and report back information on the fault, for example, a break in circuit wiring. With older vehicles, mechanics use electrical testing equipment like voltmeters and ammeters to test electric circuits/components.
Some mechanics go out to vehicles that have broken down or been damaged in accidents. They may be able to repair on the roadside, depending on the fault or tow the vehicle back to their work station to assess any damage or unseen problems.
Mechanics are also responsible for pre-delivery inspections. These are done to ensure a vehicle is working well and performing as it should before it is delivered to the customer. Mechanics use specialised equipment to measure things like engine and brake performance, transmission and the accuracy of dashboard indicators.
Mechanics also road test vehicles during pre-delivery inspections.
Personal Qualities and Skills
You must have good practical skills and a high level of technical knowledge. You need to be physically fit to cope with bending, lifting and stretching, although you will use ramps and pits, hoists and jacks for heavy work. You will need nimble fingers to handle small parts and hand tools.
You should be logical and patient in tracing faults, and have good organisational skills to prioritise your workload. It is important for mechanics to have good communication skills, because they need to explain faults and repairs clearly to customers.
Pay and Opportunities
This is a designated Apprenticeship profession. See http://www.fas.ie/en/Training/Apprenticeships/default.htm for information on FÁS training allowance paid to Apprentices while they are completing their off-the-job training.
Opportunities arise from time-to-time for promotion to supervisor level. Many persons use an apprenticeship as a first step in proceeding to such occupations as instructors, teachers, training advisers, managers and owners of businesses.
Where apprentices and craftspeople have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technological and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, schools of management, professional institutes etc.
People anxious to advance themselves in their careers are advised to discover for themselves what opportunities are available.
Entry Routes and Training
The craft is designated for Apprenticeship Training and as such is governed by the Statutory Apprenticeship rules that have been made by FAS.
How to become an Apprentice:
You must obtain a job as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.
Your employer must be approved by FÁS and must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Meet the minimum educational requirement as mentioned under Qualifications
Before seeking the apprenticeship you should:
see the type of work being done in the occupation in which you are interested
ask employers, qualified craftspersons or apprentices about the occupation and career opportunities available
seek the advice of your parents or guardians and career guidance counsellors as appropriate
To get an Apprenticeship you should:
investigate apprentice job opportunities with local employers
look for apprentice job advertisements in local and national newspapers as many large organisations advertise their apprentice vacancies
To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, FÁS offers a bursary to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of women apprentices.
Structure of Apprenticeship Training
The apprentice is required to follow a specific course of training and to undergo a series of assessments to confirm that the required standards have been reached
The apprenticeship normally consists of seven phases of training both On-the-job with the employer and Off-the-job in a FÁS Training Centre or Educational College. You may be scheduled to attend Off-the-job training in any FÁS / Educational College in the country.
Technical Training (Off-the-Job)
This form of training involves learning practical skills together with the theoretical elements including maths, science, technical drawing (where applicable) and personal development skills.
Practical Training (On-the-Job)
This form of training is with the employer where the apprentice gets practical training and experience of doing the job. In addition to the skills and knowledge gained, the apprentice will develop competence, confidence and the ability to perform to industrial standards. The apprentice will be assessed on the ability to perform specified tasks to pre-set standards.
Apprenticeship Training Programme
Phase 1: With Employer
Introduction to Health & Safety Training
Introduction to Tools & Equipment
Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in FÁS Training Locations (20 weeks)
Ignition & Transducers
Petrol Fuel Injection
Suspension & Steering
Phase 3: With Employer
Work Based Assessments
Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Petrol Fuel Injection
Steering & Suspension
Service-Quality & Management
Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Assessments
Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Petrol Engine Management System
Steering & Suspension
Phase 7: With Employer
Work Based Assessments
The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when an apprentice has completed all of the alternating on-the-job and off-the-job phases of their apprenticeship. This is generally a minimum of four years in employment as an apprentice from the date of registration with a FÁS-approved employer, as well as achieving the qualifying standard throughout the apprenticeship. Successful completion of the apprenticeship is a compulsory requirement for the award of the Advanced Certificate in the named Craft. Delays in forwarding completed workplace assessment records can result in unnecessary delays for apprentices achieving their certification.
The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.
The minimum educational requirements are:
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course
Be over 18 years of age, have at least 3 years work experience approved by FÁS
2. You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation. Your employer must be approved by FÁS and must register you as an apprentice within 2 weeks of recruitment.
In certain crafts, apprenticeship applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by FÁS.
Applicants who are over 18 years of age and have at least 3 years work experience approved by FÁS may gain access to an apprenticeship.
Contact your local Intreo Centre or Employment Services office for Career Guidance, planning and support that will help you make informed decisions about the best career direction for you
Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
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