Mike Ross - Business Owner
What is your name?
What company do you currently work for?
What is your job title?
Provide a brief description of your business
8BallTuning is a tuning garage that specialises in modifying vehicles, making them better than when they left the factory. We also carry out normal garage repairs and diagnostics. We are also High Voltage Electric Vehicle trained. We create software in house to enhance a vehicle, making it faster, and better to drive.
Describe your career pathway after leaving school
I stayed on through sixth year of school and then took a couple of years out to work and decide which career I wanted. It took a while for the penny to drop that cars were my passion. However, once it did, I signed up for an apprenticeship at a local dealership.
Have you ever been an apprentice?
Yes, I was an apprentice at the local Vauxhall dealership in Inverness. As an apprentice, your main job is to listen, learn and ask questions. You will usually work with a fully qualified mechanic, learning from them, on the job. Then you will have blocks of college to attend.
Having a trade is a safety net - you will always be able to find a job. There will always be vehicles to fix.
If you have an interest in cars, I would highly recommend an apprenticeship technician role.
What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?
Officially, the requirement is National 3/4 Maths, English and a science/tech subject.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
There are a few amazing things about the work I do - it's hard to pick a favourite. As a mechanic, the job satisfaction from fixing something that was previously broken or not working correctly is immense. For example, a vehicle comes in that doesn't start, going through diagnostic procedures, finding and fixing the fault, for the vehicle to drive out, gives every mechanic a euphoric feeling.
Also, in my specialist line of work, making cars faster is a huge buzz. Watching the customers reaction after driving their newly tuned vehicle makes the job so satisfying.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
Originally, a hefty garage bill was the reason I wanted to join the trade. I thought 'why pay so much, when I could just do it myself'.
Did you ever want to pursue another career?
In school, I liked the thought of being a PE Teacher or Sports Psychologist.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
Typically, it involves booking customers in, fixing cars, tuning cars on the dyno, and fitting aftermarket parts. Usually a mixture of them all.
What skills are required to do your job?
All the skills you need to do the job will be honed through experience. Problem solving is one of the main skills used. Hand and eye coordination is another skill used. There is also a lot of physical work involved, from lifting heavy wheels, to repetitive motions that can fatigue muscles. All of these will get better with experience - don't worry!
What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?
If you are sure you want to work in this industry, go for it! If you are unsure or on the fence, there are plenty college courses offering access to mechanics and these will give you a taster of what's involved.
Any other comments?
As an apprentice, I used to travel to Glasgow for a week of training every few months. At the end of the apprenticeship, I was nominated for Apprentice Of The Year for all car dealerships in the UK. This involved a series of tests in London, to determine the best apprentice. I won Apprentice Of The Year.
I was then nominated for another award - Outstanding Achiever - by the Institute Of The Motor Industry (IMI). This was against all vehicle manufacturer's apprentices in the UK. I also won this award.
This could be you. You could be awarded Apprentice Of The Year or Outstanding Achiever and recognised for doing your best.
For me personally, I went from apprentice, to fully qualified mechanic, to diagnostic technician, to high voltage technician (electric cars) to a master technician. There is career progression available.
In short, I went from apprentice, to now owning and running the most successful tuning company in the North of Scotland.
If you have the ambition, you can do anything!
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!