Brand New or Classic, Every Car Needs a Great Paint Job
The final paint finish makes or breaks a car repair, and the quality of the job all comes down to the paint technician. Is it a responsibility you could handle?
There are well over 30 million cars on the UK’s roads. That’s roughly one car for every two people. These include everything from the latest petrol-electric hybrids to cars from the dawn of motoring history, and from multi million pound supercars to 15 year old runarounds worth a couple of hundred pounds.
You might think there is little in common between, let’s say, a Toyota Prius, A Bugatti Chiron, a 1904 Wolseley and a 1999 Vauxhall Corsa, but each one of them is something that could well come before you if decided to take up a career as a vehicle paint technician. Car paint mixing is a job that is much the same across the motor industry regardless of the age or value of the car. Let’s find out more about the role.
What is a car paint technician?
The vehicle paint technician is the person who mixes and applies the paint to a vehicle, performing the all-important final stage to a repair that has been carried out by a bodywork technician.
The job is about more than just mixing paint and applying it in an even coat, however. As the diverse examples above suggest, there have been plenty of different materials used in car manufacture over the years, and you will have to be confident working with all of them. This means being able to recognise the various metals, alloys and plastics used on vehicles, and understanding the prep work that is needed on each type before you apply paints and finishes.
Skills and qualifications
The most important skills to succeed in this career are a good eye for details and a strong work ethic when it comes to getting things just right and delivering a high quality output every time, even when under pressure. You also need good communication skills, and that means the ability to listen and follow instructions as well as being able to put your own view across.
The exact qualifications that you need vary between prospective employers, but generally speaking, a set of reasonable GCSE grades, including maths and English will put you in good stead.
If you do not have these, don’t panic. Specialist foundation courses are available at auto academies that will help you achieve the necessary qualifications, and on completion, they can even help you find the perfect apprenticeship position to get your career off to a flying start.
Pay and working conditions
Working in a car paint repair shop will most likely involve a working day that starts at 8am and ends at 5pm Monday to Friday. There are often opportunities to supplement your income by working extra hours at evenings or weekends.
All technicians are provided with full health and safety training, along with the necessary personal protective equipment and instructions on how to use it.
The current pay rate for apprentices is a minimum of £3.30 per hour. Note that this is the government-set minimum, and some employers pay more. Once qualified, you can reasonably expect to earn somewhere between £16,000 and £20,000 per year.