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Job Photographs

  • A man is standing behind the counter of a shop.  He is using a computer and speaking to a man who is standing in front of him on the other side of the counter.

    Looking up a part number for a customer at the counter.

  • A man is standing behind the counter of a shop.  He is using a computer.

    Working at the trade counter of the parts department.

  • A man is standing behind the counter of a shop.  He is taking a credit card from a man who is standing in front of him on the other side of the counter.

    Taking payment by credit card.

  • A man is removing a small box from a stack of shelves.

    Finding the correct parts for the customer in the stock room.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Using the computer system to order parts.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, speaking on a telephone.  He is using a computer.

    Finding part numbers for a customer on the phone. The computer system shows a diagram of how the parts fit together as well as a description.

  • A man is standing at a table, in a storeroom.  He is using a computer.

    Keeping stock records up to date.

  • A man is standing in a storeroom, next to some green metal shelves with blue boxes on them.  He is removing a small blue box from one of two green plastic crates on the floor.

    Storing delivered parts in the correct places.

  • Vehicle Parts Salesperson

Vehicle Parts Adviser

Introduction

Vehicle Parts Advisers work in shops and departments that order and store vehicle parts for sale to technicians and members of the public. They provide expert knowledge on the parts required.

Also known as

  • Parts Advisor, Vehicle
  • Car Parts Salesperson
  • Motor Parts Advisor

Work Activities

As a Vehicle Parts Adviser, you will identify, obtain, stock, supply and sell all types of vehicle parts and accessories. Your main role is to sell the goods, and to control and monitor levels of stock. You might also be known as Parts Advisors.

You will take orders from customers, over the telephone or in person, and use your technical knowledge to advise them on the parts they need. You will have to find out from the customer the exact model and year of the vehicle, and might need to ask further questions in order to identify the correct part.

You will then identify the part number using a catalogue or computer and select the parts from the warehouse.

You'll issue invoices for sales, and handle cash as well as credit or debit cards payments. You order parts that are not in stock from suppliers. You do this by telephone or email, or directly through the manufacturers' own online ordering systems. You contact customers when the parts arrive.

In small parts departments, you unload deliveries, check in parts and store parts in the warehouse. You also display goods in the shop, and you count and record details of the parts in stock. This is known as stock control.

Parts departments supply to Vehicle Technicians in the workshop who carry out servicing and repairs, to customers in the motor vehicle trade and to the general public.

You usually specialise in either light vehicles such as cars or vans, or heavy vehicles such as lorries and buses. More experienced Vehicle Parts Salespeople might work only on telephone/online sales and orders.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Vehicle Parts Adviser, you will need to be able to:

  • find and use information from catalogues and computer databases
  • use your initiative and work with little supervision
  • communicate well with vehicle trade professionals and members of the public
  • show that you have a good sense of humour
  • be well organised
  • keep accurate records
  • listen carefully and speak clearly

Having a full driving licence might give you an advantage.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £19,000 - £20,500
  • With experience: £22,000 - £26,000
  • Senior Vehicle Parts Advisers earn £30,000

Hours of work

Increasingly, parts departments open for longer periods to suit customer demand. Staff usually work a 40-hour week which could include shifts, evening and weekend work.

Where could I work?

Employers are parts departments of vehicle main dealerships and motor accessory shops.

Opportunities for Vehicle Parts Advisers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus. Jobs are also advertised on job boards, such as InAutomotive.com

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

The main route into this career is through work-based training schemes. These offer training, work experience and the opportunity to work towards appropriate qualifications.

An Intermediate Level Apprenticeships or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start.

Training

Entrants to manufacturers' training schemes are employed from day one with local dealerships and retail outlets, training at a manufacturer's centre of excellence on day-release or block-release. Alternatively, some entrants might be offered a full-time place at a training centre.

Diplomas in vehicle parts principles and vehicle parts competence are available at levels 2 and 3.

In some cases, trainees work towards the level 2 certificate in customer service.

People working in parts departments can expect to go on short courses, often run by the main dealer, such as new product knowledge, telephone sales or IT skills.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in stock control, handling cash and/or dealing with the public would be really useful for this career.

Progression

Vehicle Parts Advisers can progress to Senior, Supervisor and Manager posts.

Qualifications

Qualifications vary between employers. Some employers require basic English and maths. Others prefer candidates to have GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in English, maths, science and ICT.

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Other work-related qualifications, such as a BTEC level 1, level 2 or level 3 qualification in retail knowledge might be acceptable for entry.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Some entrants have developed relevant skills in, for example, stock control, handling cash and/or dealing with the public.

You might be able to take an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Statistics

  • 2% of people in occupations such as vehicle parts sales are self-employed.
  • 70% work part-time.
  • 5% have flexible hours.
  • 6% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)

Skills for the motor industry

Address: Fanshaws, Brickendon, Hertford SG13 8PQ

Tel: 01992 511521

Email: comms@theimi.org.uk

Website: www.theimi.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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