Tony Sandell, Auto Electrician
Auto Electrician Tony Sandell has seen the industry undergo a complete transformation over the course of his career. In the interview below, Tony shares his route into the automotive sector, and why it’s only set to progress further in term of technological requirements…
How did you get into the industry and why?
“After finishing School, I started as an apprentice auto-electrician in Wellingborough, at a company called Rowlatt and Legg. I did part of my apprenticeship with them, and then went on to work for DAF. I was with DAF for about three years, I then moved to another company in Wellingborough called Bright Sparks, I was there for 7 years, and then on to TruckEast, where I’ve been for the past 21 years.”
What has been the biggest change in the industry that you’ve seen in that time?
“Electronics - we’ve gone from very basic manual and uncomplicated vehicles, to dealing with what is essentially a mobile computer. That’s pretty much what the truck is now – a server with multiple computers around the vehicle.
“The motor trade always used to be looked down on a bit by Schools and Colleges, mechanics as a job was seen as turning spanners. Now it’s the complete opposite – you’ve got to be clued up, sharp. Every day you’re learning in this trade, if you stop learning you’re going backwards, it’s as simple as that.”
Where do you see the industry going in the future?
“I think that workshops will evolve and become more similar to car dealerships, having repairs carried out separately to electrical diagnostics.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“Being challenged; what I like is having a problem and getting to the bottom of it. Certain tasks, for example fitting beacon bars and light bars can become repetitive, so I enjoy being given a technical job and really getting my teeth into understanding what’s causing it.”
What three words would people use to describe you?
“I like to be helpful, I’m not sure about three words. I think that’s probably a question other people should answer!”