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Colm Hofler

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CRH plc

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Colm Hofler
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Heavy Vehicle Mechanic
In Summary header image

Heavy Vehicle Mechanic

Heavy vehicle mechanics carry out routine servicing and repair on commercial vehicles such as trucks/trailers, vans, jeeps, buses and coaches. Many work for road haulage companies. Usually the work is based around servicing, diagnostics and repairs.

As well as routine servicing, major overhauls are undertaken at regular intervals. Faults are diagnosed and the defective components are repaired or replaced as necessary. Vehicles are serviced after a specified length of time or kilometres, to replace, repair or adjust any worn parts and generally check, tune and adjust for good performance. As part of a routine service, mechanics check and change oil, check and adjust brakes and steering.

Parts for heavy vehicles are often more expensive than those for light vehicles, so mechanics usually have to repair rather than replace any faulty items they find. Mechanics usually cover the mechanical, electrical/ electronic, hydraulic and pneumatic aspects of vehicles.

Heavy vehicle mechanics require many skills including:
  • Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools and measuring devices
  • Working with jacks and hoists to lift and move heavy items
  • Knowledge of a range of vehicle systems
  • Performing a range of technical tasks
  • Interpreting technical drawings and working with technical manuals and specifications
  • Planning and organising work schedules
  • Inspecting and testing of systems and fault diagnosis
  • Performing routine maintenance and repairs on in-vehicle systems
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade. 

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Training header image

Phase 1: With Employer

  • Induction Training
  • Introduction to Health & Safety
  • Introduction to Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Basic Skills

Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
Course Content:

  • Induction
  • Bench Fitting/Welding
  • Basic Electricity/Batteries
  • Engines
  • Transmission
  • Braking Systems
  • Fuel Systems
  • Vehicle Wiring, Electric Motors & Computers
  • Steering & Suspension Systems
  • Customer Service
  • Related Theory

Phase 3: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Fuel Systems
  • Electrical
  • Steering Systems
  • Related Theory
Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Transmission
  • Compressed Air Braking Systems
  • Suspension Systems
  • Hydraulics
  • Steering Systems
  • Diagnostic Systems
  • Related Theory 
Phase 7: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.

On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Heavy Vehicle Mechanics.

Personal Qualities header image

As a Heavy Vehicle Mechanic you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.

An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail.

The Heavy Vehicle Mechanic must have the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Communicate effectively
  • Solve problems
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
Note: A person wishing to become an apprentice Heavy Vehicle Mechanic must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.

Work Activities header image

  • Learning and developing new craft-related skills, knowledge and competency
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Working with vehicles
  • Accepting responsibility for the quality of own work
  • Being physically active
  • Using the special service tools, materials and equipment
  • Reading and interpreting technical instructions and diagrams
  • Diagnose and repair mechanical and electrical systems
  • Dismantling, examining and re-assembling mechanical systems and components
  • Testing electrical and electronic systems and components
  • Record and communicate accurate work records or reports
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
  • Passing all your phase exams ( theory, practicals, skills demonstrations)
  • Earning as you learn

Pay & Fees header image

More information coming soon ...

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:


All other Trades




€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate









Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.

Entry Requirements header image

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.

The minimum educational requirements are:

1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course 
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable 

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Metalwork
  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Note: Heavy Vehicle Mechanic Apprenticeship applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by SOLAS.

Career Opportunities header image

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession. 

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.

Occupation Profile header image

Progression Routes header image

Industry Expert(s)