Vehicle manufacturer

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Jack Lipton is an apprentice in his third year at a truck business in Lancashire. He originally decided to work as an electrician before taking up an Apprenticeship in the motor industry. He will soon be fully qualified as a skilled worker.

As an apprentice, what does your job involve?

I work in the assembly plant as an auto electrician. This involves all aspects of vehicle electrics and electronics. I am also being taught aspects of mechanical fitting, so I will eventually have experience of working in all the engineering assembly areas at the factory.

I will also have placements in the prototype department, vehicle audit and product design and development group. This will give me an overview of how the trucks are designed and built for manufacture. On the completion of my programme, I will be a skilled auto electrician.

What type of work do you do?

At the moment, I am working in the fault-finding section. As the trucks come down the production line I look for assembly faults such as incorrect wiring, missing parts or loose connections. It is my job to correct any faults that I find.

In this section we also undertake off-track testing of the vehicles, which involves simulating instances that may occur in the field once the truck has left our plant. I have also been involved in diagnostic problem identification and resolution, and electronic transmission systems.

What other areas can you work in?

I may be working in the chassis, engines or cabs sections. There is also a paint shop and eventually I will do test driving. On completion of my Apprenticeship, I will be qualified to work in any areas of vehicle assembly and end-of-line production.

What hours do you work?

We work weekdays from 7.30am to 4.10pm, with a 40-minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks. On Fridays we finish at 12.30pm.

Why did you choose this job?

After leaving school with GCSEs, I completed an Advanced Vocational Certificate in Education (AVCE) Level 3 in Electrical Engineering. I then decided that I would like to continue in this field in the motor industry and obtained an Apprenticeship.

Who do you work with?

I either train alone or with another apprentice. We work with fitters, electricians, assembly operators, product quality technicians and team leaders.

What equipment do you use?

At present, I am using multi-voltage meters, ratchets, sockets, torque bits and crimpers.

What do you like/dislike about your job?

I like the variety of work and I find the job very challenging. There is nothing to dislike about it! The people are great to work with and the working environment is safe and clean. The work based learning route has also been great for me. I really like earning money while I'm working and still learning.

What are the challenges?

My main challenges are problems concerning wiring that have to be solved. I also have to get involved in reading new wiring diagrams.

Jack's route

  • GCSEs.
  • AVCE in Electrical Engineering.
  • NVQ Level 2 in Engineering Foundation.
  • 4-year Modern Apprenticeship.
  • NVQ Level 3 in auto Electrical Engineering.
  • BTEC National Certificate in Vehicle Electrics.

Jack's tips

  • Always be keen to learn and interested in what you are doing.
  • Don't be afraid to seek regular careers advice.

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Salary of a vehicle manufacturer

  • Salaries for trainees rise in four incremental stages after the completion of each year.
  • Salaries may start at around £9,000 a year, progressing to £15,000.
  • Adult workers with two years' experience can earn around £18,000.
  • Experienced manufacturing workers can earn up to £21,000.

Getting in

  • Young people who want a career in production assembly normally join a manufacturers' training scheme. Entry requirements and the style of training may vary from company to company, so it's important to check the details of schemes.
  • Many employers offer Apprenticeships. New entrants normally work towards NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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