Driving into a new career

Motor vehicle breakdown engineers, also known as roadside recovery or assistance technicians, help people whose vehicles have broken down or failed to start. If you are interested in how vehicles work and like fixing things, this job experience could be ideal for you.

In this job you would need to have a thorough knowledge of vehicles.

You would also need to have good people skills and the ability to explain technical issues in a simple way to the non-experts.

Employers would normally look for people with a background as a motor vehicle technician. Breakdown companies often ask for a minimum of three years’ experience.

A driving licence is essential, and for some work you may need an LGV licence. You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme.

As a breakdown engineer, your work would start when a vehicle owner calls their breakdown service.

The call centre would pass on information to you about the location of the vehicle and the nature of the fault.

At the scene of the breakdown you would:

•make sure the area is safe

•examine the vehicle

•ask the motorist for a description of what happened

•find the fault

•if possible, carry out repairs at the roadside

•if major repair work is needed, tow or transport the vehicle to a garage.

You would normally work on patrols and carry spare engine parts, a battery charger and full tool kit, for use in checking for faults.

You might also use computerised fault-finding equipment.

You would be expected to fill in a record sheet for each job you attend.

This job involves a lot of driving, and you would be expected to repair vehicles outdoors in all weather conditions. You would normally wear protective overalls and high-visibility clothing.

Starting salaries are between £13,000 and £18,000 a year.

Experienced engineers can earn over £30,000 a year.