Are you interested in cars and the way they work? Are you good with your hands and enjoy learning about new things? Have you thought about becoming a motor mechanic? A motor mechanic works on all systems in cars from their engines and brakes to axles and even sun roofs! And if you thought this was just a trade for men you would be wrong!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Anele, a female motor mechanic, who is passionate about her work. Of course, I was really curious to find out why she had chosen this to be her career.
1. Why did you choose to become a motor mechanic?
I was always ‘tricked’ by the sound of cars and how they make the noise that they do. I also always thought it was for men but the first woman mechanic is qualifying this year in 4th year and once I heard about her, I realised that I always wanted to do this. If men can do it why not women?
2. What have you studied?
At school, I studied Electrical Technology. I went to Northlink College in Belhar to study Electrical Engineering and got my N3 certificate. I have an N3, matric and a driver’s licence.
3. Do you need matric to do this?
No, I don’t think so. There is NQF for those that fail matric.
4. Why did you change to working in mechanics and not electrics?
I am more interested in mechanics than electricity. Fixing a car is more interesting because you do mechanics and sometimes you do wires too. When you have to fix a sun roof that’s not opening then you have to work on the wires that aren’t working.
5. How did you find out how to do mechanics?
I study part-time through Imperial [a technical academy – see details at the end of this article] and work the rest of the time for my company. My company sponsor my studying. I had to take a test at Imperial and then I got in. We go to Imperial for 5 weeks over the course of a year and then I can do my Level 1 test. We work through the chapters of the textbook too. You have to do Level 4 to be fully qualified. I’m not sure if Imperial is taking anyone more for now.
6. What do you enjoy about your job?
I’m still doing services – changing oil, putting in spark plugs and changing windscreen wipers because I’m a beginner. I want to be fixing engines. I want to be able to figure out what’s wrong with them and then fix them. The best thing about my job now is working on a car while a customer is waiting. They need it finished by a time and I get it done on time and I’ve satisfied the customer.
7. Did you find the change to motor mechanics difficult?
No, the people I work with make it so simple and made it easier for me. I enjoy working in a corporate and working in a team.
8. Can you make a reasonable living from doing this?
I’m on a starting salary but it goes up. I’m happy with my salary but once you’ve qualified you make a very decent living and can support yourself and your family.
9. What are your future aspirations?
I’d love to be like Peter, the manager. He knows everything about the product and cars. He can explain everything about it.
10. Is there anything that you don’t enjoy about your work?
No, not really. I have to get here by 7am and that is early.
11. Would you recommend this to young people?
Yes, I would. It’s something that is eye-opening and you get to learn a lot. Even if you are interested in electricity, this is both.
12. Any last words of advice for the youth?
It’s time for young people to start doing things that give them opportunities even to be in a man’s industry. Be a goal setter – go and do it for the love of it. Never let anyone discourage you.
These are inspiring words from the young motor mechanic. For those of you who like to work with your hands and are interested in cars this seems a worthwhile and interesting career choice.
There are a number of places you can study to be a motor mechanic.
• False Bay TVET College
Westlake and Khayelitsha Campuses
National Certificate (Vocational) Engineering & Related Design: Motor Mechanics
Grade 9 or equivalent
Tel: 021 788 8373
• College of Cape Town
National Certificates N1 – N3: Motor Mechanics
Grade 12 or NC Level 3
Tel: 086 010 3682
• Mthashana TVET College
Vryheid & Nongoma Campuses
Grade 12 or any other equivalent qualification
Tel: (034) 980 1010
• Nkangala TVET College
Mechanical Engineering N1-6
Grade 10 (with Mathematics & Physical Science)
Tel: (0) 13 658 4700
• Lovedale TVET College
King William’s Town
Mechanical Engineering – Motor Mechanic (N1 – N3)
Grade 10 (with Maths and Science)
Tel: 087 238 2223
• Northlink College
National Certificate: Engineering Studies: Mechanical N1 – N3
Grade 10 (with Mathematics & Physical Science)
Tel: 08600 65465 / 021 970 9000
• Imperial Technical Training Academy
Germiston and Cape Town
The merSETA (manufacturing, engineering and related industries) accredited CBMT (competency based modular training) courses in petrol apprentice training, diesel apprentice training with motorcycle apprentice training (in the process of starting).
For employed apprentices only
Tel: 011 824 4290 or 021 951 2903
NSFAS funding is available at all TVET Colleges.
Tell us: did you find this useful? Would you be interested in motor mechanics?