A service advisor apprenticeship is a training scheme that leads to a career in customer services within the retail motor industry which deals with aftersales care. A service advisor generally works in either a franchised car dealership or an independent garage.
The scope of the role will vary depending on the size and structure within the organisation, but a typical service advisor role includes dealing with customers who have vehicles in your organisation’s workshop being serviced or repaired. Service advisors are responsible for communication between the vehicle technician working on the vehicle and the customer that is waiting for his/her vehicle to be returned. This includes managing workshop bookings, estimating time and costs associated with repairs, responding to customer requests and keeping customers informed.
Some service advisor roles have a proactive sales element to them, while others focus on back end administration, including managing workshop loading (i.e. how many vehicles can be worked on at one time), processing warranty claims and invoicing.
The Service Advisor Apprenticeship Programme Covers:
Transport Training Services has an impressive training centre including modern conference facilities; a variety of fully equipped training rooms and computer suites; a vehicle manoeuvring area; vehicle maintenance workshops and a vehicle body repair workshop which houses a paint booth and paint mixing facility.
As with any new career, some basic knowledge of the job or the subject matter is advantageous but not essential.
Whilst having some basic understanding will set you off on a good grounding, the biggest asset you can bring to an apprenticeship is enthusiasm. Having an interest in your chosen career is a must.
As part of your apprenticeship we will teach you everything you need to know, including the basics.
Our existing and past female apprentices and the women that work in the transport, logistics and automotive sectors tell us that they are not treated any differently to their male colleagues.
They consistently tell us that they enjoy being part of the team, they are treated fairly and equally and they love the banter that comes with being part of a mixed team!
During your apprenticeship you will be fully supported by both your course tutors and our dedicated Careers Development Officer. Our Careers Development Officer will be with you every step of the way to ensure you are integrating successfully into your workplace and to provide you with regular feedback on your progress. Your Careers Development Officer is also the link between you and your employer and is there to make sure any issues, on either side, are resolved quickly.
If you have any doubts or questions about being a female in the transport or motor industries, join our Facebook group and ask one of our ‘Women in Wheels’ – a group of friendly, inspiring and dedicated women who are either existing apprentices, are recently graduated apprentices or are experienced women working in a range of role across the sectors.
Women in Wheels NI Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/womeninwheelsni
We know that the transport/logistics and motor sectors have a lot to offer. Aside from the excitement, variety, problem-solving and technology involved, both sectors are in high demand and so provide good long-term job prospects.
The motor industry employs 823,000 people and contributes £18.6 billion to the UK economy.
Due to the highly rural nature of many parts of NI, transport by car is the only viable option for travel and commuting. Without the motor sector we would not have cars that are safe and legal to drive.
The road transport industry employs 2.7 million people and contributes £124 billion to the UK economy.
Everything that comes into or goes out of Northern Ireland travels by road, whether it’s clothes, food, fuel or your online orders, so the career opportunities are vast and diverse.
Transport workers are essential in our everyday lives. The recent covid-19 pandemic showed the importance of transport and logistics and demonstrates that even when the economy dips, transport stays strong and in demand.
1.2m vehicles licensed in NI – all need maintained/repaired
150,000 goods vehicles and 3,400 buses all need drivers
A combination of an ageing workforce, lack of investment in apprentices after the last UK recession, a lack of diversity and the impact of Brexit means our sectors are facing a shortfall of talent across all areas. This means qualified transport and automotive apprentices, once qualified, are in high demand!
Once you enter a career in transport or automotive, there is plenty of opportunity for growth and advancement. Find out about the career path opportunities here.
Apprentices are also crucial in bridging the gap in future technologies in these sectors. TTS apprentices will increasingly bring skills that may be lacking in transport and automotive businesses in Northern Ireland today. We already train apprentices in hybrid and electric vehicle technology and are already looking to the future of hydrogen power, for example.
Additionally, women now account for 35% of registered car keepers in the UK and so are increasingly involved in car buying and servicing decisions. Many women feel more comfortable interacting with and asking questions of female mechanics and service advisors, so employers have a desire to hire more women.
The first step is to complete an online application, which can be found here. When we receive and process your application, you will be invited to TTS to participate in a range of aptitude tests. Please note, any candidate under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
In an apprenticeship there is no pass or fail. The measure of success is satisfactory completion of the apprenticeship. 97% of TTS apprenticeship starters successfully complete the three-year course.
TTS has well-established business partnerships with the main employers in the transport and motor sectors in Northern Ireland. Current partners on the ApprenticeshipsNI programme include a variety of franchise brands including:
We also train apprentices for local franchise dealerships and independent employers and family businesses throughout Northern Ireland, such as:
This is not an exhaustive list and as you can see covers the entire geography of Northern Ireland. We endeavour, as far as possible, to match apprentices to vacancies in their locality.
TTS is consistently praised for its support of young people. We have a dedicated Careers Development Officer to provide ongoing pastoral care to ensure you are developing well and integrating successfully into your workplace, and to provide you with regular feedback on your progress.
Your Careers Development Officer is also the link between you and your employer and is there to make sure any issues, on either side, are resolved quickly.
Proof of the quality of support available is the large number of employers who themselves came through an apprenticeship with TTS and want a similar, quality experience for the staff they employ.
You can find out more about our pastoral care by downloading our Apprentice Pastoral Care Handbook here: Download PDF.
Nothing! Unlike most university courses, there is no cost associated with training during an apprenticeship! On the contrary, apprentices earn a decent wage from day one. Read more about apprenticeship wages here.
Some apprentices may, however, be required to invest in some tools.
TTS normally starts new apprentices in September, mainly because this fits into the typical school-leaver schedule. The best time to look for an apprenticeship, therefore, is between January and June prior to the September that you wish to commence. Some employers start recruiting as early as Spring so the earlier you apply the more opportunities you will be able to be considered for.
Having said that, we often have demand from employers throughout the year for new apprentices, which we can accommodate because our apprenticeships are modular. This means you could start the apprenticeship later in the term and simply complete the modules in a different order, if we have sufficient numbers for a full class of late starters or spaces to fill on existing classes.
Unlike some other apprenticeship providers, you will work for your employer and attend TTS classes all year round. Most employer work experience is five days per week (Monday to Friday), with attendance at TTS in Nutts Corner being approximately one week every two months for training. At TTS, we find this ‘block release’ model to be beneficial compared with other schemes that operate on a weekly day release for college training, because you can get more done in five consecutive days than in five individual days. In our experience, employers also prefer the block release model because they find it easier to plan your workload.
Each apprentice attends our training centre for a unique blend of workshop practical tasks, classroom theory and e-learning. At TTS you will receive a minimum of 50% workshop practical training. Hours of attendance at TTS are 9am to 4pm (Monday-Thursday) and 9am to 3pm (Friday).
According to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) an apprenticeship is “a work-based training programme that provides the learner with practical skills through on-the-job training combined with theoretical knowledge through off-the-job learning”.
A TTS apprenticeship is a three-year employment opportunity for young people which provides paid work experience and nationally recognised qualifications.
Transport Training Services is a social enterprise focusing on apprenticeships and career development training specifically for the retail motor trade and transport industry in Northern Ireland. Backed by over 50 years’ experience as a leading, recognised transport training service provider, our advice is sought after and trusted around the UK and Ireland. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the registered charity, Transport Training Board for Northern Ireland, TTS has a genuine, longstanding interest in promoting apprenticeships to young people in Northern Ireland to secure the future workforce of these sectors. We aim to support local employers to fill skills shortages that currently exist within the labour market.
You must understand from the outset that, by accepting an apprentice, you are making at least a three-year commitment to employ him/her. There is also an expectation that you will retain the apprentice post-qualification. In our experience, it is rare for an employer to let an apprentice go after the three years, because when an apprentice becomes fully qualified this is when he/she become most valuable to an employer.
Employers will generally show preference for candidates with GCSE passes (grade C or above) including Maths, English and ICT. This is because each role in the motor or transport industry will require these skills in everyday life. For example, a bus driver will inevitably need to take payments from customers (using Maths skills), someone working in a customer service role will need to be able to communicate articulately with customers via email (using English skills) and technicians work with English, Maths and ICT on a daily basis when, for example, reading and interpreting manufacturer technical data, calculating gear ratios and wheel alignment angles, or when carrying out vehicle diagnostics using computers.
If you do not have the required GCSE qualifications, these subjects must be covered under “Essential Skills” classes which you would take alongside your other learning. The advantage of taking Essential Skills via TTS alongside your chosen apprenticeship course is that we try to teach these classes putting the learning in the context of the job you are training to do. This can help you to understand the importance of the subjects because there is more relevance to your chosen career path.
Whilst it is important to have some qualifications to set you off on a good grounding, the biggest asset you can bring to an apprenticeship is enthusiasm. Having an interest in your chosen career is a must.
As part of the application process, each TTS apprenticeship applicant will be assessed using a range of diagnostic tests, including:
If you are applying for a driving apprenticeship, you have a better chance of becoming an employed apprentice if you have a full and clean car driving licence.
TTS apprenticeships are funded by the Department for the Economy and therefore our apprentices must be between 16 and 24 years old (inclusive) when they start their apprenticeship. This means you must start the apprenticeship before your 25th birthday.
The apprentice minimum wage, which is set by the government and which changes at least every April, depends on:
For those aged under 19 or those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship, the minimum apprentice rate applies (April 2021 rate is £4.30 per hour). If you are 19 or older, and have completed your first year of your apprenticeship, the National Minimum Wage applies for your age group.
Whilst these are the minimum wages set by the government, TTS apprentices are employed by a local company in the motor/transport industry from day one and many of these employers choose to pay more than the minimum legal standard. Certain types of apprenticeships also tend to command a higher rate. It is important to keep sight of the long-term goal when entering into an apprenticeship though. Transport and motor industry technical and driving professions are in high demand and offer excellent career prospects. Find out about career progression opportunities here.
While many apprenticeship candidates are able to find their own employer, others use our matching service that brings potential new recruits together with employers that have suitable vacancies.
If you are fortunate enough to have a pre-existing connection to an employer that is seeking an apprentice, we can help to set up the apprenticeship to support both you and the employer. If it not an employer that we have worked with before, we will need to carry out some basic quality checks, such as the employer’s workshop facilities, insurance and health and safety procedures.
At TTS we really want to support those that show an ability and/or ambition to have a career in the automotive or transport industry. While we cannot promise that we will be able to match you with an employer, we have a large network of contacts that we can put you in touch with. We work with a range of vehicle manufacturers and local companies that employ apprentices that we can signpost you to and we can help you with CV writing and interview preparation to give you the best chance at securing a position.
All TTS apprentices are on the payroll of their apprentice employer for the duration of the apprenticeship. Being employed from day one generally means there is greater investment from the employer to make the apprenticeship successful.
TTS offers more than 10 different types of apprenticeship in Northern Ireland, all in the motor, transport or logistics industry. You can search our apprenticeship courses here to find out more about each. If you would like to know more or have any questions about your son or daughter’s suitability you can contact Robert Deignan, our Careers Development Officer, who can help you pick the right apprenticeship. Find Robert’s contact details here.