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Connections with local enterprise driving students to automotive employment

Connections with local businesses are helping students develop the necessary skills and experience to gain employment in the automotive engineering industry.

For more than ten years Tony McDonald from Capital City Motors has been taking two to three apprentices every year from WelTec’s Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level Four) (Managed Apprenticeship) programme. He sees this as beneficial to both parties, giving students a chance to gain valuable work experience and allowing Tony to find quality new employees.

“The students are well-skilled and ready for work when they arrive. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and every apprentice has been fantastic,” Tony says. “The WelTec classes keep them up to speed and means they’re constantly learning and equipped to progress to more technical jobs.”

Tony’s focus is on upskilling the students and giving them a wide range of experience so they can gain practical experience in all aspects of automotive repair. Many of his current employees are students who have come through the WelTec apprenticeship scheme and have stayed on afterwards.

Michael Jordan, 23, is an Upper Hutt local currently completing his apprenticeship at Capital City Motors in Wellington. He wasn’t sure what his career would look like upon leaving school, but after returning from overseas travel the Government’s Fees Free programme convinced him to enrol in WelTec’s New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level Three). He is now only months away from completing WelTec’s Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level Four) (Managed Apprenticeship).

He’s grateful for the opportunity to work at Capital City Motors and cites the ability to work while he learns as a critical factor in drawing him towards the programme. He was recommended to Tony by his tutors and moved to an apprenticeship after a short trial.

“WelTec helps you find a place that suits you. I never stop learning,” says Michael.

Students can balance their classes at WelTec with full-time work due to flexible class times. Students work during the day and then attend a night class from 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm once a week.

Michael thinks this approach works best for his progression and gives him the best of both worlds in regards to his education. “You really need that practical experience in a workshop,” he explains. “WelTec gives you the core knowledge and building blocks, and then the apprenticeship provides on-the-job experience.”

Throughout his apprenticeship, Michael has been able to work on vehicle servicing, general repairs, and technical diagnostics. He says he’s constantly learning new skills and doing more specialised jobs.

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