Shining the light on apprentices in the aftermarket

Find your nearest Centre


Shining the light on apprentices in the aftermarket

Shining the light on apprentices in the aftermarket

The automotive aftermarket skills shortage is one of the biggest challenges faced by garages across the country. Retirement, migration, and occupational mobility are all factors that are fuelling a growing sector-wide crisis. In fact, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) predicts that 160,000 garage and technician vacancies will need filling by 2031.


Garages are now looking to offer more apprenticeship opportunities, in a bid to ease the struggle and secure the next generation of aftermarket talent. Although similar to traditional work experience opportunities, apprenticeships are government-backed and combine on-site practical training with college study. These schemes tend to be better suited to individuals that prefer a more hands-on approach to learning and are often highly sought after by students.


What to expect from an apprenticeship


A typical apprenticeship scheme is a long-term training programme – usually anywhere from one to five years – and aims to provide a good balance of practical work and study. This equilibrium ensures that apprentices are not just equipped with the necessary theory, but can also fully demonstrate their practical skills, too. In most cases, apprentices will spend four days at work and one at their university, college, or training provider.


In a garage environment, apprentices can bring great value and much-needed enthusiasm to learn. Whether it’s learning the ropes as a trainee mechanic or technician, or working behind the scenes in customer service, marketing, or sales, there are plenty of responsibilities that apprentices can grow into. As it stands, vehicle technician roles are set to carry the highest demand – accounting for 16% of vacancies.


From an employer’s perspective, the reward of an apprentice vastly outweighs the investment. An IMI study revealed that apprentices will start to become profitable for a business within 18-24 months and that the typical return on investment of an apprentice is between 150% and 300%.


A variety of responsibilities


On the shop floor, those training to become mechanics or technicians will start out by shadowing their colleagues. In time, they will move on to perform vehicle inspections, diagnose problems, undertake vehicle maintenance and repairs, and give advice to customers. For office-based apprentices, the focus will be on administrative duties, managing relationships with customers and bringing vital digital expertise to the table.


Nick Taylor, General Manager at Eurorepar Car Service UK, is keen to encourage any independent garage, in a position to support an apprentice, to do so. He said: “Apprenticeships are changing the employment game for garages across the country. If garages can realise the true benefits that apprentices can bring to their business, the tide will finally turn on the industry-wide skills shortage. This is serious food for thought for the aftermarket.”


Benefiting from the investment


With National Apprenticeship Week upon us, there’s no better time for garages to open their doors to the next generation of aftermarket professionals. Similarly, we encourage anyone looking to pursue a career in the aftermarket to consider the apprenticeship route. It may just be one of the best decisions you make.