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Vehicle Maintenance Level 1 Diploma at Reading College

Course description

This one-year course is for students who are progressing from the introductory course or applying with GCSEs. It prepares you for entry level jobs in the motor vehicle industry and is equivalent to the first year of a Motor Vehicle Apprenticeship. You will cover general workplace Health and Safety, as well as servicing engines and their components, chassis and electrical systems. You will learn to carry out pre-and post-work inspections all at the same time as improving your English, maths and ICT and other skills to make you more employable.

Our well-equipped workshops and the range of vehicles you will work on make for a realistic working environment. The department maintains good links with local employers and all the lecturers have considerable industrial experience and are keen to share their knowledge and experience with students. Enrichment activities include trips to places of relevance such as the Motor Sports Show and the London Motor Museum. The course structure (two long days) prepares you for the demands of a full working day and allows you to have a part-time job or work experience alongside your college course.

Course content

You will learn the function and purpose of motor vehicle systems and components in depth. The course content is equivalent to the first year of a two-year apprenticeship programme, and is ideal if you are intending to carry on learning in the workplace. Many students progress to motor vehicle jobs on course completion. If you are successful in gaining a full-time place in a motor vehicle setting and your employer is willing to support your training we will let you transfer to an apprenticeship programme at any point in the year. 

Developing a deeper knowledge and a higher level of practical skill than on the introductory course, you will study the following eight units: 

  • working with others
  • good housekeeping
  • health and safety
  • routine vehicle servicing
  • engines and engine components (e.g. cam belts, starter motors and alternators)
  • chassis systems (e.g. brakes, steering and suspension), electrical systems (e.g. windows, lights and wipers)
  • vehicle inspections (pre and post work inspection). 

As there is a keen focus on preparing you for direct entry to the workplace the course includes development of your personal, social and employability skills. You will study functional skills in English, maths and ICT at Level 1 which are one of the requirements for an apprenticeship programme. Before you are interviewed you will need to complete the motor industry standard computer-based aptitude assessment which is used to determine which level of course you should start on. You will also have an initial assessment of your literacy and numeracy skills. At interview we expect you to show your motivation to succeed on the course.

Entry requirements

Predicted GCSE grades of D or above in English Language and maths. You will need to complete a motor industry standard aptitude assessment before your interview and you will need to demonstrate your interest and commitment.


You will attend college on two full days a week. About half the course is spent in practical workshop sessions and the other half is spent on classroom-based theory sessions. You are encouraged to gain relevant work experience where possible. Assessment is through a number of practical assessments and a formal examination for each unit. The assessment criteria are more in-depth and more demanding than on the introductory course. You will need to show the knowledge and skills you have learned and a methodical, professional approach to work. You will need to build a substantial portfolio of evidence so good organisation and presentation skills are needed.

Future opportunities

Employment in the motor vehicle industry, an apprenticeship or a relevant Level 2 course such as engineering.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 September 2016
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    • BY RAIL

      Reading train station is a 20 minute walk from the College.

      Travelling from surrounding areas: there are direct lines from many local stations including: Didcot, Slough, Maidenhead, Wokingham, Basingstoke, Newbury, Pangbourne, Twyford and Earley.

      Travelling from London: there are regular trains from London Paddington to Reading taking 25-30 minutes.

      BY BUS

      There are regular bus services that stop along Kings Road:

      Reading Buses - routes 13, 14, 17
      Please Note: Reading buses require the exact fare.

      Arriva - routes 800, 850
      First Group - route 190
      Thames Travel - routes 126, 127

      In partnership with Reading Buses, students can get a weekly Travelcard at a reduced rate by showing the driver their student ID card.

      The Green Bus will be operating two new bus services from September 2014 for Reading College students.

      Service RC1 and RC2 will run once daily according to an agreed timetable on 175 days of each academic year connecting the college with Slough, Maidenhead and the areas in between.