The South Australian automotive industry employs 13,000 people, which is 1.6% of the State’s workforce.

Most of the people working in the automotive industry repair and maintain vehicles, mostly cars and trucks.

There are jobs in this industry everywhere in South Australia, but most of the jobs are in the northern and southern metropolitan areas.

Job openings for skilled workers

Automotive electrician

Motor mechanic


Vehicle painter


Quick facts about this industry

  • Around 90% of people in this industry work full-time.
  • The majority of the workforce has a certificate III trade qualification or higher.
  • Most workers in this industry are men but there are plenty of opportunities for women.
  • People are generally younger than those in other industries.
  • To work in this industry you need to be physically fit, and enjoy working with hand tools and solving mechanical problems.
  • Most Motor Mechanics earn between $800 and $1000 per week. Auto Electricians and Panelbeaters earn between $600 and $800 per week

School options

Ask your vocational education and training (VET) Coordinator at school for information about doing vocational education during the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including the Training Guarantee for SACE (or equivalent) students. Visit the VET section of the SACE website for training options in:

  • Automotive

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Certificate II level qualifications include automotive air-conditioning, bicycle mechanics, body repair, braking systems, cooling systems, electrical technology, servicing, and steering and suspension system technology
  • Certificate III qualifications include areas such as electrical technology, vehicle body repair, tyre management and mechanical technology with specialisations in agricultural, diesel, elevating work platform, forklift, heavy commercial vehicle, marine and mobile plant technology
  • Certificate IV qualifications include body repair, electrical technology, mechanical diagnosis and vehicle loss assessing

See courses related to this industry.

University disciplines include:

  • Mechanical engineering

Explore university courses offered in South Australia, including courses from:

For more information about university courses visit South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) or for information about student satisfaction visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Apply to study

For application information for South Australian universities and some TAFE SA courses, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

For subsidised training enrolment information, see Enrolling in subsidised training.

For more information, call the Infoline on 1800 673 097.

Occupations in this industry

Light vehicles

A Motor Mechanic for light vehicles services, repairs and overhauls the mechanical parts of motor vehicles such as the engine, transmission (clutch, gear box and differential) and suspension systems (springs, steering, brakes, wheels and tyres).

Professionals in this area are becoming more specialised and need to work with computers fitted to vehicles and other electronic controls.

Motor Mechanics may specialise as Automotive Air-conditioning Fitters, Brake Mechanics or Automotive Electricians.

They may also specialise as Breakdown Service Patrol Officers who give emergency mechanical assistance to members of an automobile association.

Motor Mechanics may progress to positions such as Service Manager, Service Adviser, Technical Sales Representative, Technical Officer or Diagnostic specialist.

Heavy vehicles

A Motor Mechanic for heavy vehicles repairs, maintains and tests heavy vehicles, other engines and related mechanical components. This involves diagnosing, overhauling, repairing, tuning, maintaining and testing diesel, petrol and gas powered vehicles.

They may work on trucks, buses, bulldozers and other earthmoving equipment, tractors, stationary engines (such as generators, pumps, compressors and drilling rigs) and agricultural machinery.

Mechanics for heavy vehicles are more likely to be working in rural areas.


Panelbeaters repair damage to metal, plastic and fibreglass bodywork on vehicles. They also make and form vehicle panels using machines or hand tools.

Key occupations

Other occupations in this industry include:

Automotive air-conditioning fitter, bicycle technician, brake mechanic, car detailer, engine reconditioner, fitter or marine mechanic.

Related industries for these occupations:

Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications. See data sources for more information.

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