Panelbeaters repair or replace body parts of cars, trucks or other vehicles that have rusted or been damaged.

Tasks and Duties:

  • talk to customers about the repairs needed
  • estimate the cost of repairs
  • lever and hammer out dented panels
  • apply body filler to the panels and sand them back to the original shape
  • straighten bent frames
  • weld to repair rust and panels, and to attach metal panels onto vehicles
  • cut out damaged sections of vehicles and weld in replacements
  • reshape and smooth damaged panels
  • repair rust
  • align and repair body structures after major accidents
  • repair plastic bumpers
  • sand and prepare panels and parts for spraypainting
  • may rust-proof vehicles


Panelbeaters need to have practical, mechanical and observational skills. They also need to be skilled in repairing, fitting and preparing vehicle panels and frames. Good communication and calculation skills are also helpful.


Panelbeaters need to know about metals and auto body parts, mechanics, up-to-date methods of repair and auto manufacturers' specifications. They also need to know basic maths, and safety rules and methods.

Personal Qualities:

Panelbeaters should be motivated, accurate, responsible, honest, careful and patient. They also need to be good listeners, able to work independently and have an eye for detail.

Physical Requirements:

Panelbeaters need to have a good level of fitness and good hand-eye co-ordination. They spend a lot of time on their feet and need to be able to work in, under and around vehicles.

Educational Requirements:

NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, and workshop technology

It is an advantage to have completed a National Certificate for Entry to Motor Body Trades before beginning an apprenticeship.

Entry Requirements:

A drivers license is required.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for panelbeaters includes:

  • spray-painting
  • welding
  • work in an automotive industry trade, such as automotive engineering
  • car grooming
  • metal fabrication or car restoration
  • any work involving physical labour
  • sheet metal work

Training on the job

Panelbeating apprenticeships can be done by completing the National Certificate in Panelbeating, which can be gained through on and off-the-job training. Apprentices can go on to become registered and, with further study, an A-Grade panelbeater. For further information contact the New Zealand Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO).

Modern Apprenticeships, for people aged 16 to 21 years old, are also available. General information on modern apprenticeships can be found at the Modern Apprenticeships website.

Work Places

Panelbeaters work in paint and panelbeating workshops.


Fully qualified panelbeaters usually earn between $30,000 and $50,000 per year.

Further Information

Local Panelbeating companies

Website link