Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service

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John E

00:00:05 Hi, I’m John E, I’m a diesel mechanic with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service.

00:00:13 I enjoy my work, I’m happy in my work. It’s a dirty job but the money’s clean and the working conditions in the main workshops are excellent. Different when you go to the actual fire stations but I do enjoy the job.

00:00:33 I left school when I was 15 and a half, left school on the Friday and started in a garage on the Monday morning. My brother at that time was a mechanic and my Dad tinkered a lot with cars so we tended to tinker, you know, when we were young and I did know that when I left school I wanted to go into the motor trade so I had no qualms or fears about going into the motor trade because that was my aim. And plus my Dad always said, “You must have a trade.” In those days everybody had a trade but he said, “You must have a trade,” and my brother was already in the motor trade so I was, like, following in his footsteps, you know.

00:01:19 Well, I went to the first garage when I was, as I say, 15 and a half. I left there when I would be 17, I think, and I worked for the [main agents1.32] in Edinburgh on Hillman cars and small vans and then in 1974 I went to work for the Scottish Bus Group as a mechanic and I remained there until 1990 when we were all made redundant and the whole garage was shut down.

00:01:56 Being made redundant was a very low time for me because I still had a young family and a wife to support and you felt as if you had been thrown out and you weren’t any good. But I got a job right away with a haulage contractor in Leith Docks working on trucks on night shift and I’d done that for three months and then I lost that job because he lost his night shift contract in the docks so that’s when I came, that’s when I found this job when I went to the Job Centre. I was interviewed on the Wednesday and by the Friday I had a letter to say I had the job and could I start on the following Monday. Which was great.

00:02:48 The things that make you do your job well are your interests. I’m interested in it. I am interested in the workings of the vehicle. We get sent on training courses and you learn from everybody around you because not everybody knows everything.

00:03:09 In five years time I would like to be retired because I can retire when I’m 60 which I will be in three and a bit years time. Very sure that what will be done with my retirement is that my wife will have a list as long as this what she’ll be wanting done. I would probably take a job, maybe one in the supermarkets stacking shelves just to keep active because it’s important not to go into the house, shut the door and sit down. That doesn’t do you any good. ENDS

John E is a Diesel Mechanic with the Lothian and Borders Fire Service. “I was 15 and a half, left school on the Friday and started in a garage on the Monday morning. In five years time I would like to be retired because I can retire when I’m 60”.

More information about Vehicle technicians, mechanics and electricians

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

99%  male 
1%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Vehicle technicians, mechanics and electricians accept calls for help and repair and service the mechanical parts and electrical/electronic circuitry and components of cars, lorries, buses, motorcycles and other motor vehicles, and repair and service auto air-conditioning systems.
There are no formal academic entry requirements, although some employers may require GCSEs/S grades or an equivalent qualification. Training is undertaken off- and on-the-job. NVQs/SVQs at Levels 2 and 3 are available. Apprenticeships at NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3 are available and take three to four years to complete.
  • Visually checks, test drives or uses test equipment to diagnose engine and mechanical faults;
  • Removes, dismantles, repairs and replaces defective parts and prepares new parts using appropriate tools;
  • Reassembles, tests, adjusts and tunes the appropriate parts, systems or entire engine;
  • Carries out routine maintenance checks on oil and air filters, brakes and other vehicle parts/systems;
  • Diagnoses faults in electrical/electronic circuitry, removes faulty components and fits replacements;
  • Checks condition of electrical/electronic systems and carries out servicing tasks;
  • Installs additional electrical amenities such as radio/CD players, aerials;
  • Repairs and services air conditioning, heating and engine-cooling systems.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Sale of motor vehicles 139048
Land transport, etc 8681
Motor vehicles, etc 6195
Postal, etc 4784
Retail trade 4331
Warehousing, etc 3560
Rental & leasing 3255
Civil engineering 1841
Wholesale trade 1725
Waste management 1719
Employment status

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