What are you working towards? 

If you’re considering a new role, there’s some form of motivation behind that curiosity. It’s personal, but for a lot of automotive tradespeople they start considering alternatives because they’re looking to take their career forward. Perhaps you’re feeling stuck in a rut, uninspired and just showing up to work through routine and the need to pay bills? We’ve all been there, but how do you get past it and aim for better?

The words ‘professional’ and ‘motor mechanic’ (or any other automotive tradesperson) don’t tend to go together very often, and we think this is a real shame that needs to be addressed. It’s also something that can give your plans shape, and it’s certainly something that Australian automotive employers care a lot about.

Many people (inside and outside of the automotive industry) don’t recognise the complexity and sophistication of what being an automotive tradesperson actually means these days, and therefore don’t think of this trade as something a person can reach a professional level with. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about motor mechanics, diesel mechanics, panel beaters, vehicle painters or auto electricians. Perhaps it’s because the term professional has a white-collar connotation, normally reserved for use in discussing office-based jobs that people get after they’ve earned university degrees. Maybe it’s because motor mechanics etc are often tucked away from view, working in the background of a business while the showrooms and front offices get the public’s attention.

All this aside, we think the time has come to define what being a professional automotive tradesperson means, why this is important, and how anyone with drive and leadership values can achieve this (sooner than you might think, if you’re not there already!).

A professional automotive tradesperson is:

  • Someone who understands that their trade involves specialist knowledge and skills that are not common to most people and should be respected. As automotive technology continues to advance in more complex and sophisticated ways, the knowledge and skills needed to support it will move in the same direction
  • Aware and proud of the fact that becoming a professional automotive tradesperson is a process that takes years of dedication and effort, and involves a conscious decision to learn from experience and achieve more mastery of a trade – it doesn’t happen by accident, and not everyone does it!
  • Never finished becoming more professional – more knowledgeable, more experienced, more skilled
  • Conscious of the fact that their work contributes an important social and economic function to society that cannot be easily replaced
  • Aware that their trade allows avenues for self-improvement, whether in terms of career advancement, personal growth, or financial gain

This is important because:

  • It’s true but we don’t talk about it! Until we do talk about it we cannot improve the understanding of what being an automotive tradesperson means, which makes it harder to improve how our trade is recognised by those around us
  • Aspiring to professionality gives us the chance to create goals, something bigger than the next job to focus on and to work towards
  • Most automotive tradespeople find that their passion for their trade can get bogged down in the routine and pressures of work. Deciding what being a professional looks like for you and working towards it is the best way to combat this and control your own perspective

Becoming a professional in your trade is probably not as difficult as you think either, because it’s a personal benchmark – you can decide how to be a professional on your own terms. Here’s the two most defining qualities we’ve identified in the best professional automotive tradespeople we know:

  1. These people have their own drive.

They have a drive to learn as much as they can, or to prove to themselves or those around them that they can achieve a goal. Perhaps they have a drive to improve their understanding of their trade, their role or the industry itself. In the best scenario, some of these people have the drive to help others do whatever it is that drives them, and that brings us to the other thing uniting some of the happiest automotive workers.

  1. These people also often show that they are a leader.

Leadership doesn’t always mean you run your own team, that you answer to big bosses, or that you make the big bucks. Automotive leaders think, work and act in ways that show they care about what they do, and that people around them should care too. In automotive, the best leaders think about how they can improve and learn from every new challenge, rather than looking for easy fixes or a quick exit when things get tough.

Nail these two things your way and work on evolving them, and you’ll be on your way to being the sort of professional automotive tradesperson that is more satisfied, more respected, and is pushing our industry forward.

Importantly, if you can show potential employers that you take these values seriously and you’re hungry for the chance to prove it in their workshop, why wouldn’t they want to support that? This is where the Techs On The Move Candidate Pool works best – connecting driven and professional automotive tradespeople with employers that understand their ambition and want to see it rewarded.

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