Every week, Zikoko will share the hustle stories of Nigerians making it big in and out of the country. With each story, we’ll ask one crucial question in several ways: “How you do am?”
Ismail Tobi’s hustle story took us through his journey to becoming a mechanic while studying for a civil engineering degree. If you’ve ever been curious about what it takes to become a mechanic in Nigeria, this guide will help you.
Who is a mechanic?
When you think of a “mechanic” in Nigeria, you think of someone who repairs and maintains cars. That’s correct, but that just describes an automotive or car mechanic. These mechanics are responsible for diagnostic testing and inspection of cars and small trucks. You might even find a car mechanic who specialises in a particular car brand or a specific area of auto service, like the chassis system.
Mechanics, in general, are skilled workers who use specialised tools to build, maintain or repair machinery like vehicle engines, motorcycles and even refrigerators.
What are the requirements for becoming a mechanic?
Training is an important requirement for mechanics, as it’s a very skill-centric profession. You can train to become a mechanic through two routes: studying a mechanical/automotive engineering degree in school or going through an apprenticeship system.
If the goal is to become a car mechanic, a mechanical engineering degree may not be the best bet, as they focus more on research and development of new designs for all types of machinery, not just cars.
Automotive engineering is a mechanical engineering speciality, and it focuses on all things related to the automobile industry, including testing and maintenance — the typical duties of a car mechanic. Several Nigerian universities offer automotive engineering courses, including Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Bayero University, Kano and many more.
To go through the apprenticeship route, you’d need to undergo training at a mechanic’s workshop for a stipulated period of time This option is used more in Nigeria, as it allows the trainee to get practical hands-on experience.
Where can I learn to become a mechanic?
Some automotive workshops in Nigeria that offer training include AutoMedics
Like Tobi, you can also reach out to a nearby mechanic workshop and confirm that they offer training services. Be careful to seek out one who knows what they’re doing, though.
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How long does it take to become a mechanic?
Studying at the university usually involves a 4-5 year study period. In many cases, degree holders also have to go through internship periods at workshops to get practical experience. For mechanic apprentices, training duration usually depends on the workshop, but it typically takes a 2-5 year training period.
What is the average mechanic’s salary?
Many mechanics in Nigeria prefer to run their workshops, so their income is determined by their client base and frequency of jobs. These factors also come to play in mechanics who are employed to work in other people’s workshops, but an average mechanic can earn between ₦80k – ₦200k per month.
What skills are needed to succeed as a mechanic?
There are many mechanics in Nigeria; how do you stand out? An important step is staying in tune with new moves in your chosen industry. Are there new technologies you need to be aware of? How do you tell the difference between substandard and quality vehicle parts? These are some of the questions a mechanic needs to consider if they hope to stay successful at their craft.