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Level
Duration
4 Years
Job Zone

In Summary

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.

See the brochure by clicking on the photo above.

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.



Women@SIMI provides a platform for professional females, representing different sectors within the Irish Motor Industry to meet, network and share their experiences in what is otherwise viewed as a traditional male dominated environment.

View details from Apprenticeship.ie

To view full details of this occupation, view information from our Careers database for the following occupation: Heavy Vehicle Mechanic

Entry Requirements

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

The minimum educational requirements are:

Grade D or "Achieved" in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,

or

The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course,

or

Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable.

You must obtain a job as an apprentice in your chosen occupation. Your employer must be approved to train apprentices and must register you as an apprentice within 2 weeks of recruitment.

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

Training

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.

To check whether courses are running in your area for Apprenticeships, check with your local ETB using this link and select your county. 

Skills & Qualities

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

Core Skills

  • Servicing: Carry out manufacturer’s service schedule. Complete a vehicle report form
  • Engine: Carry out compression tests. Remove/overhaul cylinder heads. Diagnose turbo charger faults and remove/repair and replace components
  • Diesel Fuel System: Remove/test and refit/replace injectors. Remove/ replace diesel injection components. Check exhaust emissions with smoke meter and diagnose faults. Remove/replace/time, fuel injection pumps. Remove/repair/ replace fuel lift pumps
  • Transmission: Remove/refit gearboxes. Diagnose faults in clutch, remove/ replace components. Remove/replace driveshaft joints and bearings
  • Suspension: Remove/replace suspension components
  • Wheels: Balance wheels and repair punctures
  • Bodywork: Remove/replace bodywork components e.g. door locks, windows and regulators. Repair/adjustment of mechanical and hydraulic types of cab tilting and locking devices. Fit safety crash barriers and reflector markings
  • Lights Remove/replace components and focus headlights

Specialist Skills

  • Brakes: Diagnose/rectify faults in ABS brakes. Diagnose faults in air assisted hydraulic and full air brake systems. Remove/replace and adjust system components
  • Engine: Carry out complete engine overhaul
  • Hydraulics: Overhauling and fitting tipping gear, tail lift and loading/ unloading crane equipment
  • Suspension: Diagnose and rectify faults in pneumatically and electronically controlled air suspension systems 
  • Transmission: Diagnose faults in and overhaul gearboxes. Diagnose faults in and overhaul differential and hub-reduction units. Diagnose and rectify faults in pneumatically and electronically operated gear change, differential and inter axle locking mechanisms 
  • Electrical Diagnose/rectify faults in electrical circuits using wiring diagrams and multimeter. Remove/refit vehicle entertainment systems. Install basic electrical equipment
  • Bodywork: Adjustment and overhaul/replacement of fifth wheel coupling and semi trailer king pin

Common Skills

  • Metalwork: Basic bench fitting. Gas welding, brazing, cutting and arc welding brakes.
  • Diagnose faults in hydraulic brakes system and remove/replace components
  • Steering: Check and adjust steering geometry. Remove/replace steering components (manual and power assisted type steering)
  • Engine: Remove/dismantle/reassemble and refit an engine. Diagnose faults in cooling system and remove/replace components
  • Electrical: Diagnose/rectify faults in starting and charging systems and remove/ replace components. Diagnose/rectify faults in heating systems and remove/replace components
  • Bodywork: Repair/adjustment of mechanical bodywork components e.g. door locks, windows and regulators

Note: A person wishing to become an apprentice Heavy Vehicle Mechanic must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.

Work Activities

  • Learning and developing new craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • 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

Career Progression

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

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

Where apprentices and craftspeople 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.

Getting an Apprenticeship

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.

Finding Vacancies

Finding an employer or registering your interest with an official Coordinating Provider is one of the first things you need to do to start an apprenticeship.

Opportunities for this apprenticeship may be available from the following organisations:

Opportunities for this apprenticeship may be available from the following organisations:

Pay & Fees

The employer pays the apprentice while s/he is being trained on-the-job. A training allowance is paid by the local ETB while the apprentice is attending the off-the-job training, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship. Generally, the rates of pay are based on a percentage of the fully qualified rate for the occupation:

  • 1st Years – 33.3%
  • 2nd Years – 50%
  • 3rd Years – 75%
  • 4th Years – 90%

Training Allowances

A training allowance is paid by the local ETB to apprentices while attending off-the-job training. In some cases, a contribution towards travel or accommodation costs may be paid if deemed eligible. The sector the apprentice's employer is engaged in will determine the allowance payable. These allowances are calculated on the gross wages paid by industry in each sector. The amount the apprentice gets will generally be less than that, as it is based on the net take-home pay of the relevant sector. The weekly gross wage norms for different industries can be found here 

Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is charged to students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology (IoT). 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. For further information, click here.

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