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Doors Open To Careers In Collision Repair For New Zealand Youth

AMI, State and NZI’s specialist vehicle repair centre, Repairhub, is building an impressive apprenticeship programme to attract new talent into the industry.

“The collision repair industry as a whole has been struggling to find enough talented workers for some time now,” says Dean MacGregor, AMI, State and NZI Executive General Manager, Supply Chain & Adjacencies.

“And with New Zealand’s growing population, we need to ensure we’re set up to support customers when they need us.”

Repairhub is a state-of-the-art vehicle repair service, with seven facilities across Auckland, Christchurch, and Hamilton, and more in the pipeline.

The team runs a comprehensive apprenticeship programme, overseen by a dedicated training manager. There are also support technicians in Auckland and Christchurch who work alongside the apprentices to mentor and support recruits with their studies.

Gary Geeves, CEO of Repairhub says, “At the moment, we have 22 apprentices across our sites. But we’re ambitious to grow that; we aim to be the place to come for young people wanting to start out in the collision repair industry.”

Repairhub apprentices are taken through the New Zealand Qualification Authority’s Level 3 programme with exposure to all four sectors of the Repairhub business: detailing and grooming, stripping and assembling, panel beating and painting.

On successful completion, trainees can then move to Level 4, where they begin to specialise in either panel beating or painting.

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Gary adds, “Students who choose to focus on painting at level 4 get a chance to learn advanced techniques in painting and awareness of all the new tech coming through. Panel beating students in Christchurch have the benefit of our dedicated training area, which consists of two classrooms and an open plan workshop where they can work on cars.”

All up, the programme runs for 3-4 years, giving trainees a New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair and Automotive Refinishing, which opens employment opportunities for them in the industry.

Repairhub is actively recruiting for more people to join the programme, promoting it through job fairs, women in trades expos, school visits and career days. The team is also working with the Hanga-Aro-Rau Workforce Development Council to attract more Māori apprentices and permanent Repairhub team members.

“This isn’t just about Repairhub, but about contributing to the wider sector as well,” says Gary. “We work closely with MITO (Te Pūkenga) and other private repairers to ensure our training is up to date and relevant. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring we are leading the way in collision repair and are offering excellent service to our customers.”

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