Are you looking for a job as a mechanic? Wondering what the job description entails? Here's a brief outline about the services you are expected to provide and the background you need to have.
Mechanics are known by a variety of different terms such as Automotive Technician, Vehicle Technician and in some counties – Automotive Engineer. The term Automotive Engineer is often used in New Zealand and Australia although in some countries such as the United Kingdom better describes the work of an engineer employed in the manufacturing sector. The best way to check the correct term in your country you wish to secure work is to check the job boards. If seeking employment in New Zealand, check out Automotive Employment's website
As a mechanic, you are on either in workshop/garage checking and repairing automobiles and inspecting vehicles: Personal and business customers will come to your garage daily for car check-ups, as part of their Warrant of Fitness (WOF)/MOT registration renewal process. Your responsibility in this role is to thoroughly examine the vehicle for faults, wear and breakage – it's vital that your customer's car runs at its maximum potential.
Maintenance follows naturally on from inspection. After you have determined the vehicle's current condition and diagnosed the problems, it is time to repair (or in severe cases, replace) parts that show signs of damage or age. This is an important step because repairing/replacing parts actually helps the vehicle last longer – motor vehicles function as a whole unit – if one part malfunctions, chances are other parts will be affected too. So rather than waiting for the entire vehicle to break down, you need to prevent further damage by tackling the weak points and strengthening them.
These duties all require a certain amount of working knowledge of car parts, how they run and how to fix specific problems when they occur. Therefore, you will need to have an analytical mind, be very co-ordinated and organized – your customers depend on your ability to think of practical solutions for their motor vehicle problems. On the odd occasion, you might be asked to deal with an rare vehicle or exotic vehicle, it might be from a lesser-known manufacturer or include Hi-Tech diagnostic systems. Cases like these demonstrate that you need to keep yourself updated with the latest technology and the main dealer sites are usually the best place to do this. You will need to be prepared to commit to some research in order to understand technological differences. You have to be able to absorb information associated with industry processes and protocols.
Mechanics are often required to wield heavy machinery, at least in the Heavy Diesel side of the trade, so you need to be physically fit and capable of handling an assortment of tools. Some employers will ask you to provide your own set of tools for work.
Training is available for those who are interested in launching a career in automotive servicing or those seeking to up-skill in their field. For those who decide they love their jobs, there are plenty of job opportunities all over New Zealand and overseas for the trained, skillful mechanic.
One final thing – mechanics are increasingly working in hi-tech environments. Make sure your employer's workplace is up-to-scratch and provides opportunities for you to advance your learning.