Trailer Maintenance and Repair Technician Apprenticeship

A trailer maintenance and repair technician apprenticeship is a training scheme that leads to a career in servicing, maintaining, inspecting and repairing trailers – the kind that are used by transport companies to move goods from warehouses or factories to stores.

There are a range of trailer types that can have solid or curtain sided bodies on them or can be flatbeds (that don’t have a body structure attached) and these can sometimes have two levels (called twin or double decks).  They can even be refrigerated for transporting chilled and frozen food.  Most trailers are 13.6m (40ft) in length.

A trailer maintenance and repair technician usually works in either a dedicated trailer maintenance facility or at a transport company that has it’s own workshop for maintaining its own fleet.

The Heavy Vehicle Trailer Maintenance & Repair Technician Apprenticeship Programme Covers:

  • Health & Safety
  • Tools & equipment
  • Working with others
  • Routine heavy vehicle trailer maintenance
  • Removing and refitting trailer electrical and auxiliary units
  • Removing and refitting trailer chassis units and components
  • Inspecting trailers using prescribed methods

otherwise known as

  • Trailer Fitter
  • Trailer Technician
  • Trailer Maintenance Engineer

FAQs

  • What are TTS’s Facilities Like?

    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.

    Take the Virtual Tour:

  • Do I Need to Know Anything About Cars/Trucks/Trailers to Start an Apprenticeship in the Motor or Transport Industry?

    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.

  • Is Being a Vehicle Technician a Dirty Job?

    It is of course part of the job to get your hands a bit dirty but today we call professionals that work on vehicles “technicians” rather than “mechanics” or “diesel fitters”.  This is partly because, they are now working on huge computers rather than oil and grease ridden machines! And likewise, engines are moving away from petrol and diesel to electric and other fuel types which are much cleaner to deal with.

    We can’t promise that you won’t ever get dirty – that’s why you’ll have overalls and other PPE to wear – but the job is certainly getting less and less dirty as technology evolves.

    If you compare being a technician to other vocational career choices, it’s no different to a hairdresser getting stained with hair dye, a nurse getting bodily fluids on their hands and clothes or chefs getting covered in food!

  • Will I Fit in as a Female in the Transport, Logistics or Automotive Sector?

    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 

  • Do I Need to be Physically Strong to Drive or Fix Trucks, Buses or Trailers?

    With advances in technology in vehicles, ‘brute strength’ is no longer required for driving or fixing trucks and buses!

    Today, automotive technology is moving more towards computers than turning spanners, and because of improving health and safety legislation, there are tools and equipment these days that make these traditionally manual jobs much safer.  Heavy lifting is done by machines in most cases.

    Automotive technology is all about solving problems as much as it is about the actual fixing and much of the problem-solving these days is done by computer-based diagnostics.

    And driving trucks and buses is becoming more and more automated so the days of using muscle to turn a steering wheel on a heavy vehicle are long gone.  Today’s drivers are highly skilled.

    So, although transport, logistics and automotive are excellent career choices for people who like to use their hands, physical strength is not a pre-requisite.

  • How Do I Apply to be an Apprentice?

    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.

  • What is the TTS Apprentice Pass Rate?

    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.

  • What Support Will I Receive Throughout My Apprenticeship?

    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.

     

  • Do I Need any Tools or Equipment for my Apprenticeship?

    For some apprenticeships, you may be required to have your own tools, but we wouldn’t recommend making any significant purchases without seeking advice first of all.  Your TTS Careers Development Officer can liaise with you and your employer to find out what equipment you will need.

    Some employers offer tool allowances or loans to help get you started.

     

  • What Does it Cost to be an Apprentice?

    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.

  • When is the Best Time to Find an Apprenticeship?

    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.

     

  • What is the Training Schedule for a TTS Apprenticeship?

    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).

     

  • What is an Apprenticeship?

    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.

  • What are the Entry Requirements for an Apprenticeship?

    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:

    • Literacy (English)
    • Numeracy (Maths)
    • Mechanical aptitude (your ability to understand and apply mechanical concepts and principles to solve problems); and
    • Cognitive reasoning (your ability to understand, process, remember and apply the information you will learn)

    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.

     

  • What is the Apprenticeship Age Limit?

    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.

  • How Much Does an Apprentice Get Paid?

    The apprentice minimum wage, which is set by the government and which changes at least every April, depends on:

    • Your age
    • The year of apprenticeship you are in

    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.

    You can find out more about legal apprenticeship wages here and national minimum wages here.

    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.

     

  • How Do I Find a Motor, Transport or Logistics Industry Apprentice Employer?

    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.

     

  • How Do I Find a Motor, Transport or Logistics Industry Apprenticeship Course?

    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.

  • What Can I Expect From an Apprenticeship in the Motor / Transport / Logistics Industry?

    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.

    By embarking on an apprentice, you are generally making at least a three-year investment in your future career, but 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.

    To give you an idea what to expect from an apprenticeship at TTS, you can check out some videos of what our existing and past apprentices have to say.  Click here to watch the videos.

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