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Vehicle Refinishing Apprenticeship Level 3 at St Helens College

Course description

As a vehicle refinisher you would be mixing and applying decorative finishes and protective coats to vehicles using a range of spray guns. You will be working in the automotive industry This innovative industry has recently moved to reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds) by introducing water based paints.

The UK is Europe's second largest maker of premium cars and the automotive sector is currently at the strongest it has been for the past ten years with advances in motor vehicle technology, the demand for skilled workers is constantly growing.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships combine practical on-the-job training with work related qualifications for those aged 16 or above, living in England.

Apprentices will gain a good technical knowledge base of the sector as a whole and, combined with real, practical, work experience, will gain competency in the workplace and the development of transferable skills.

Course content

Who is this Apprenticeship suitable for?

This would be a suitable apprenticeship for you if you already have some relevant qualifications in this specialist industry. You may already be employed as: a vehicle painter, but want to gain relevant qualifications and become time served.

What type of work will I do and what qualifications will I gain?

Although apprenticeships will vary depending on your entry level and your employer, you may work within the bodyshop of a garage containing a paint booth or on a workshop floor.

You will gain a range of skills from the varying tasks you complete, these could include:

  • Health and safety
  • Applying foundation coats to vehicles
  • Mixing primers and paints
  • Applying top coats and lacquers
  • Rectifying paint defects
  • Using specialist equipment to apply paints
  • Weighing, measuring and mixing different paints
  • Working on a range of vehicles
  • Understand the dynamics of a commercial garage

You will also gain the following qualifications:

  • Competence and Knowledge Qualification - level 3 Diploma in Accident Repair Paint (IMI)
  • Level 2 functional skills maths (NCFE)
  • Level 2 functional skills English (NCFE)
  • Level 2 functional skills ICT (NCFE)

What skills and qualities will I need for this apprenticeship?

  • Some experience of working in the industry.
  • Good mathematical skills.
  • Excellent practical skills.
  • Methodical worker with a close attention to detail.
  • The ability to work independently.
  • Good communication skills.
  • The ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
  • A reasonable level of fitness.
  • An awareness of health and safety regulations.

Entry requirements

This is dependent on your employer and on the level of the apprenticeship you apply for.

To undertake this level 3 qualification, you will need to have gained a level 2 qualification (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Alternatively, you may have obtained 4 years work experience in an automotive setting.

You will normally need at least grade C or above in your English and maths GCSEs. If you don't have these, don't worry. You can work towards your functional skills in English and maths alongside your apprenticeship training at St Helens College.


As an apprentice, you will be assigned an assessor, who will visit you in the workplace to observe the tasks you complete. You will also complete a number of relevant work-related modules at College as well as producing an online portfolio. All of which will contribute to the overall success of your apprenticeship.

Financial information

How much will I earn?

With an apprenticeship you will earn while you learn. You are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. As of 1st March 2016, this is £3.30 an hour for 16 to 18 year olds. 

Future opportunities

Upon successful completion of your apprenticeship you could progress onto managerial qualifications or you could go onto secure a permanent job with your current employer.

Further information

How long will this apprenticeship take to complete?

Depending on the level you enter and the employer you work for, an apprenticeship can vary in duration, from one year to four years.

The average duration of this apprenticeship is 18 months; this will be discussed and confirmed with each individual apprentice after initial advice and guidance and assessments are completed.

How does an employer benefit from this apprenticeship?

This apprenticeship has been developed by employers and providers to meet the needs of both small and medium size enterprises as well as larger organisations. It provides a structured approach to training and developing prospective vehicle refinishers who understand the needs of the organisation, its customers and the sector within which they operate.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Helens College directly.

Last updated date: 05 September 2016

Key information