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Gracie’s Love For Cars Lands Her Dream Job – Thanks To MTFJ

From left: Craig Schroder (General Manager, Arthur Burke), Gracie Rogers, (MTFJ apprentice mechanic), Hurunui District Mayor Marie Black and Anna Scott, (Hurunui Council MTFJ Youth Connector) in front of the Arthur Burke tyre department, where Gracie has started her training.

From the age of 8, Gracie Rogers knew she loved cars.

When Gracie turned 16, continuing at school or working in an office were never going to be options.

Instead, Gracie emailed the Hurunui Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) programme, asking if they could help her realise her dream of getting into a car workshop.

Hurunui Council’s MTFJ Youth Connector Anna Scott says Gracie was the programme’s second applicant this year and credits Arthur Burke Ltd General Manager Craig Schroder for approaching the programme with the opportunity of a four-year mechanic apprenticeship.

Two months into her apprenticeship has seen Gracie grow in confidence. “Cars have always been my passion so it makes working hard towards an apprenticeship easier. This is my dream job – I love it.”

Hurunui District Mayor Marie Black describes Gracie’s story as “the magic of community-led solutions to support young people into employment. It’s having that willing young person, an established employer like Arthur Burke that is willing to take a chance and the support of the people in the young person’s life to make it happen.”

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Schroder says Arthur Burke had been advertising for an apprentice since November last year. Meeting Gracie at her interview in February, he knew it was a match.

“Gracie was 100 percent focused on this as a job. We’ve had a female apprentice before in our Waikari branch who went on to qualify and is continuing to work in the industry. It benefits everyone to have a good blend.”

Starting in the tyre department, Gracie is looking forward to all the components of her training, including Mazda training in Auckland and even the theory side doesn’t worry her.

“Gracie is not afraid to ask a question,” says Schroder, “and everyone has taken ownership in mentoring her.”

Gracie says no one in her family has shared her mechanical path but she credits her older sister and her sister’s then partner for the introduction to cars.

At the age of 15, Gracie purchased her first car, which she had been saving for since she was 12. The project is still a work in progress and has helped Gracie understand how cars work. With Gracie only one month away from getting her Restricted Licence in her project car, it’s the final dream to come true.

  • The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Employment Programme (CEP) is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that has a strong focus on getting young people into sustainable employment.

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