Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Deirdre Sayers from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

Deirdre Sayers

Primary School Teacher

Department of Education and Skills

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Deirdre Sayers
Do not go into teaching solely for holidays, and definitely not if you want to be rich! You need to like children be patient, kind and be able to work with many types of people.

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Organisation Profile - SIMI


SIMI - Committed to an innovative and progressive approach to career development in the industry.

SIMI - Committed to an innovative and progressive approach to career development in the industry.

Career Opportunities... header image
What are the main occupations in this sector?

Because the industry is so varied and diverse, there is a vast array of career opportunities in the Motor Industry Depending on your experiences, there is an opportunity to work in a dynamic growing sector and in an environment that both challenges and rewards. 

The main occupation categories in this sector are:

Sales Manager   Service Manager
Parts Manager    Vehicle Sales Executive
Finance & Insurance Specialist    Fast- Fit Specialist
Service Advisor      Parts Sales Rep
Receptionist / Telephonist      Accounts Assistant
Valetor         Vehicle Recovery Operator
Forecourt Manager  General Operative
Vehicle Body Repairer - Spray Painter/Panelist Financial Controller
Marketing Public Relations
Service Sales Assistant     Vehicle Tester


What types of employment contracts are there?

The type of contract offered would depend on the role and what is offered by the employer, however most positions within the Industry are full time.


What are the typical earnings of these occupations?

With many different job types available within the Motor Industry earnings may vary for each role. The average starting rate for a qualified mechanic is approx. €30,500. An apprentice mechanics will get a percentage of the qualified rate depending on their first to 4th year. 

4th year apprentice 90.00%
3rd year apprentice 75.00%
2nd year apprentice 50.00%
1st year apprentice 33.30%

Other salary levels are negotiated on individual basis by each employee.


How do you get a job in this sector?

Job vacancies in the Motor Industry are advertised in a number of ways: 

  • We advertise current vacancies for our member companies on our own website: click here

These jobs are regularly updated with new positions. We would advise anyone looking for a job in the Motor Industry to regulary check these websites.

Member companies also advertise locally in newspapers and their own websites. 


Education and Training... header image
What qualifications are required?

The educational qualification for a specific role will be outlined by the employer. 

Educational Requirement for Apprentice

Apprentices must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of grade D in any five subjects in the Junior Certificate or equivalent. However, employers may require additional minimum qualifications.

Where individuals do not meet the minimum requirements they may be registered as an apprentice by an employer if:

They satisfactorily complete an approved preparatory training course and assessment interview. For information on these courses please contact your local ETB - EDUCATIONAL TRAINING BOARD;


They are over 18 years of age with a minimum of three years' relevant work experience and satisfactorily complete an assessment interview.

Apprentices must be employed in their chosen occupation by an employer who has been approved by SOLAS. The employer must register the apprentice with SOLAS within 2 weeks of recruitment.

An apprentice is a person who works for an employer in their chosen occupation and gains the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies to become a qualified craftsperson. The duration of an apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years.

The apprenticeship system is a modular standards-based system comprising of 7 alternating phases of training and development four on-the-job and three off-the-job. On successful completion of your apprenticeship, you will receive a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft. This qualification is recognised both nationally and internationally.

Other Requirement:
A person wishing to become an apprentice in one of the select automotive categories must pass a colour-vision test (the “Ishihara” Colour Vision Test 24 Plate Edition).


What are the typical routes into this sector?

New entrants arrive in the sector from various educational and training routes. The most traditional entry routes would be from schools or colleges. Students may pursue apprenticeships which involve a combination of working with a company and studying in a third level institution.

In order to secure an apprenticeship, applicants need to find an employer who will take on an apprentice and is approved to do so by SOLAS.


Advice... header image
What advice do you have for school leavers?

If you are interested in working in the industry, make use of your transition year and look for work experience. Approach local companies to seek their assistance to achieve this or ask your career guidance counsellor what contacts they may have in the industry.

Speak to those you may know in the industry to get some guidance from them and knowledge of their experiences.


What advice do you have for career changers?

Familiarise yourself with the aspects of the industry that interest you most. Have an understanding of what's involved in that role as you may require new qualifications. Don't be afraid of change, we all learn by doing but just be aware of what your new career path involves and how you are going to achieve that end goal.  


What advice do you have for non-Irish nationals?

There are opportunities for people of all nationalities with formal qualifications and a large number of professional qualifications which can be gained while working in the industry.


What advice do you have for those wishing to go back to work?

The Motor Industry offers scope for entrants at all levels, and with various levels of previous experience. Within the industry there are opportunities to move from different sectors.


Global Opportunities... header image
Are there overseas opportunities available?

Yes, the skills gained within the Motor industry are extremely transferable in other countries.

With apprenticeships once it has been completed you will be rewarded a National craft certificate which is recognised nationally and internationally meaning you can use it to work abroad if you wish to travel.


Are there opportunities in this sector for non-Irish nationals?

There are opportunities for people with formal qualifications and a large number of professional qualifications which can be gained while working in the industry.


About this Sector... header image
Please give an overview of your sector?

Within the Irish Motor Industry there are many different business sectors and operators. Sectors such as Repairers, Vehicle Recovery, Sales, Aftersales, Distributors, Vehicle Testing, Vehicle Body Repairs, and Wholesalers to name just a few. 

SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) as a member's organisation must represent the views of all our member companies. We do this by campaigning/communicating to Government, state bodies, the media and the motoring public.

Each year SIMI submits a Budget Submission to Government on behalf of the Motor Industry, requesting recommendations that would assist the growth of our Industry. An example of two initatives that were campaigned for by SIMI and passed by Government were the scrappage scheme which commenced in 2011 and the change in the registration plate to a dual registration system introduced in 2013. We also provide our members with Industry specific services such as taxation advice, employment advice, statistics, training courses and much more.

The motor sector makes a very strong contribution to the Irish economy through the employment that is created in sales and servicing, and the contribution to the Exchequer through taxes on employment, but also through the VAT and VRT payable on vehicle sales. In addition, the motor industry is spread geographically around the country and makes a very strong contribution to economic activity in the regions, including small towns and many villages.

2015 €1.19 Billion of Government Revenue was generated from new and used car sales alone while the revenue generated from vehicle servicing and repairs as well fuel duties and road tax are added to the VRT/VAT tax take on car sales, the overall taxation collected from motorists amounted to €5.4 billion to the Exchequer in 2015.

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.

Women@SIMI recognises the dynamic role played by women who are leading the way for the next generation of women in helping to driving our Industry forward both in terms of business strategy and career progression.



What is the size and scope of the sector?

At the end of 2015 total Employment in the Motor Industry stands at over 43,000. At its peak the level of employment was 49,500 in the final quarter of 2007. Employment since 2009 has increased by 5000.

The broad geographic spread of employment of motor industry business in Ireland is one of its key attributions and SIMI has member companies in over 400 towns in Ireland.

The motor industry also plays a key role in training and development of young people through the national apprenticeship system. 760 apprentices where registered within the motor industry family of trades and that includes construction, heavy vehicle mechanic, motor mechanic, vehicle body repairs and agricultural mechanic. That’s an increase of 25% from the previous year.

The Motor Industry offers a wide variety of career choices from marketing, finance, IT, human resources, technical, sales, administration, and many more.


What are the current issues affecting this sector?

After a dramatic decline in car sales in 2009 on the back of the collapse in the economy and
the surge in unemployment, the industry is now rebounding strongly.

2015 turned out to be a very good year for the Irish motortrade. The recovery that commenced in 2014 gathered momentum and became more broadly based. The prospects for 2016 look positive. All components of economic activity should strengthen as the year progresses. The increase in new car sales and commercial vehicles can be attributed to both increased consumer and business confidence. 

For 2016, the key drivers of new car sales look set to remain positive. Employment is set to increase and consumer confidence should remain strong. It is impossible to forecast too far ahead into the future as there are many outside factors that can affect the Irish economy and in turn our Industry. Domestically, political uncertainty seems to represent the most significant risk factor. Political instability would not be good for business and consumer confidence and would damage economic activity and employment creation. While uncertainty about global growth prospects also may propose a risk to the Irish economy. 

During the recession many of our skilled (technicians/mechanics) work force left Ireland, as the Industry continues to grow, employers will seek to recruit qualified technical staff and sales people as positions arise. It is estimated that for every extra 1,000 new car sales, 130 additional employees are hired in the industry. Car sales are making the biggest contribution to the growth in consumer expenditure.


What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years

While it is impossible to forecast that far ahead with any degree of confidence, we would be optimistic that car sales will continue to grow for the next year or two. A slowdown in growth is likely to be reflected as the market approaches a steady or natural state, after a prolonged period of catch up.



Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?

The Motor Industry contributed €5 billion to the economy in 2015. 

New Car sales at the end of 2015 reaches 124,945. Most up to date statistics for Vehicles parked for all vehicles is 2,570294 and for passenger cars only is 1,943,868. 

Visit for the most recent new car sales figurers. 





Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?

As technology in cars evolve we see an opportunity within the Industry for new skilled personal. For example parking sensors, reversing cameras, electric vehicles, self drive cars, all require new technologies and the Industry faces a challenge to be at the cutting edge of these requirements.      


About Us... header image

The SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) is the national representative body for the Motor Industry in Ireland.

We are the official voice of the Motor Industry in Ireland and are proud to represent over 1200 members companies including Retailers, Repairers, Vehicle Distributors, Vehicle Testers, Wholesalers and other key industry operators.

We work on our members behalf, representing their views and concerns to the Government, the media and the public. To learn more about SIMI our website visit