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“I love cars and grew up around them because my dad was a mechanic and they were always my hobby. But I had my first child at the age of 16 which held me back a little bit. Then in 2018, I started running the Northland team for the Suicidal Car Club in Whangarei. At that time the suicide rate was through the roof and we were keen to set a club modelled on one that my sister-in-law had set up in Auckland. It is a youth-orientated automotive space where at-risk youth can hang out and learn general automotive skills to give them something cool to do to keep them occupied.”
“The need for this finally gave me the courage to sign up for the automotive course. I saw the progress some of my friends and family were making in other NorthTec courses and I knew the quality of education, the facilities, and support were amazing. Now that I’m on board here, every course day is a great day for me, I learn something new, and I have a great time doing it.”
“Engines in general are a challenge to me especially remembering the names and what goes where but that's what doing this course is all about. Every new journey in life is a challenge but challenges are what make you who you are.”
“I’m really surprised at how my confidence and time management skills are blooming here. I’ve had to learn how to be in a workshop environment and be job ready, and my health and safety strategies when working on vehicles have also dramatically improved now that I’ve learnt the right way to do things. Another surprise is realising how much welding is involved in automotive and finding that I really enjoy it and am pleased to gain that skill.”
“Our tutor is very inspiring, educational and supportive and always pushes us to strive for our best. All of the tutors and staff at NorthTec are welcoming, they have great tips and advice, are always involved, and there when you need them.”
“Completing this course will have a massive impact on my life. Having first done level 2, I’m now nearly finished level 3, then I want to get an apprenticeship, then a job and become a fully paid Mama. I have two young children and my family has lived off one income for a very long time so having two working parents will hugely impact our family’s life.”
“My dream is to earn a living as a fully qualified mechanic, as well as to run an automotive-focused youth space to keep our Whangarei/Northland youth occupied, safe and educated in the automotive sense.”
“I want to say a big thanks to NorthTec and our tutor for inspiring not only me but our whole class to do our best in everything we do here so that we can be job ready.”
The mechanical work is great and we even get to work on our own cars so I’ve just replaced the fuel system in mine. I...
“Six years ago when my Dad suggested I do a mechanic course so I’d be self-reliant if my car broke down, I said no because I thought that was boys’ stuff. I’m doing it now and I have such a sense of purpose and a much broader outlook. I’m more eager than I thought. ”
Barbara was so keen to start studying that she does a three day commute to Kaikohe from where she lives in Whangarei. “All the automotive course positions there were filled for this intake, so I trialled the commute for two weeks and it’s fine. My Dad is from Kaikohe and I used to live here.”
“The mechanical work is great and we even get to work on our own cars so I’ve just replaced the fuel system in mine. I’m really enjoying learning and being with new people but the challenge for me is to memorize our study book. I’m having to discipline myself to focus and concentrate on learning the theory to sit the test.”
“I want to do an apprenticeship in Whangarei and completing this course will give me a much better chance of doing that. It’s too soon to know what might unfold after that.”
Meeting new people here has opened me up to new ideas and the tutors are the best. They’ve been in the trade and are...
“I got the chance to be part of the service crew at NorthTec for the International Rally of Whangarei. I did the refuels morning and night and the clean-up, and that led to an invitation to be part of the Canterbury rally service crew a bit later.”
Jared stepped up to do the automotive engineering course from a strong mechanical background and a keen interest in motorsport. “My father is a mechanic and the family are contractors so I thought I knew a lot about automotive engineering. But when I started the course here I realised how much I didn't know. Reading the books and learning from the tutors helped me join a lot of dots.”
“Meeting new people here has opened me up to new ideas and the tutors are the best. They’ve been in the trade and are teaching us their tricks. I have a bit of a challenge with the book work but the support is there within the course. Anybody can do this and you can start at 16 years old.”
“Completing the course will make it easier for me to get an apprenticeship in lightweight automotive engineering. I’ve gained the knowledge and shown I have the discipline to apply myself.”
Further down the track Jared has his sights set on being a mechanic in a motorsport team. “My uncle was a rally car driver and during the car rally here I was surprised at how many options exist within the industry. It can take me around the world and shows me the leading edge of automotive technology before it hits the mainstream.”
“I’ve always been interested in cars and fixing them - I decided it was now time to chase what I love and this course...
“I’ve always been interested in cars and fixing them but I have spent my life doing other work to support my car habit. I decided it was now time to chase what I love and this course was near where I live. I had the skills but these days we need tickets to show what we know.”
“I love being able to come to a place where I can immerse myself in the trade, do what I love, and improve my skills with a team who are all into the same thing. I’m used to learning things by myself by trial and error so it’s awesome to be with others on my level and tutors with their 40 years in the trade. I enjoy our teamwork on jobs and we bounce a lot of ideas off each other. It doesn’t feel like work.”
“I had a bit of knowledge about a lot of things, so the course is filling in gaps in my understanding of how things work and interconnect, and I’m amazed at the depth of knowledge you can reach. It’s also making my own diagnostics at home easier. The challenge for me is learning to deal with the new generation of electrics in cars. We grew up with old cars that we knew how to fix but it’s important to keep up with the electric diagnostics and systems or you get left behind.”
“My main goal here is to get the ticket demonstrating that I have the knowledge and the skills so that I can work in the automotive industry. The bonus is that it’s also good for my own confidence. One day I might start my own small workshop, but for now a mate who runs a side business in car repair heard I was doing this course and has asked me to do some work.”
“When I was young I wasn’t ready to commit myself to my passion, but I’ve learnt that anything you really want in life is there when you are ready…..just don’t leave it too long.”
I’m on my way to creating my own life now. Follow what you want to do and don’t let anyone hold you back.
“When I was little I could always name the types of cars on the road. I love cars, so when I heard I could do an intro automotive course two days a week last year while I was still at school, I was in. One of my friends signed me up for this next level course and it’s turned out to be one of the best years of my life.”
“I love getting down to the work here because it’s so hands-on. I’m fixing my own car on the course at the moment. I had to change the head gaskets so it’s been a bit of a challenge and a good experience. It’s a major job and things are still not quite right but mechanical challenges are what I’m here for.”
“I like to do the practical stuff first and keep the theory and study minimal. Theory is not so much my thing but I need to do enough to pass the assessment so I’ll push through it with the help of the tutor. I’m one of the youngest in the class and I’ll probably go on to the next level from here.”
“I want to have my own workshop that I can develop into a global company. I would just deal in older petrol cars, specialize in a car brand that appeals to me, and get known for that. I’m a visual thinker and I’m able to see, understand and fix older petrol cars.”
“I’m on my way to creating my own life now. Follow what you want to do and don’t let anyone hold you back.”
I was used to fixing my own mowers and machinery so I looked on the internet and found this automotive course close...
“I wanted to change jobs because the gardening and tree trimming I’d been doing was getting too hard on my body. I was used to fixing my own mowers and machinery so I looked on the internet and found this automotive course close to home. I had moved to Kaikohe from Auckland because I could afford to buy my own house here.”
“I’m enjoying my classmates. We all bring our own experience and swap information, and the tutor explains things well.”
“I’m keen to carry on studying so I can start my own family business but the next level of the course is electrical. I’m not good with electrical things so I’ve encouraged my son to study too and I hope he’ll get that part sorted. My plan is that we’ll go into business together.”
“The best part about studying here is being involved with the International Rally when it comes to Whangarei. Working...
“I’ve been around cars all my life, and I wanted to fix them so I started my studies at the Kaikohe campus last year and have now moved to Whangarei to complete the Level 3 Certificate in Automotive Engineering.
“We learn basic things to more professional things, from a full service to changing tyres and all that sort of stuff.
“After this programme, I will gain an apprenticeship and go on to become a mechanic.
“The best part about studying here is being involved with the International Rally when it comes to Whangarei. Working on the rally cars alongside international teams is pretty awesome, it’s not an everyday thing! I think it will help me in my future career, for sure.
“My advice to students would be just to give anything a go, whatever opportunity comes your way.”
“Working on the rally cars for the International Rally that comes to Whangarei is just awesome. It’s a really rare...
“When I was growing up I wanted to be an auto mechanic in a car workshop and someone recommended NorthTec to me and I thought I would follow it up.
“I really like the course itself. I think it’s really well planned, we go through certain tasks and we complete it term by term and it flies by to be honest.
“My favourite part about the course is the tools! There is not a lack of tools around the workshop. And the tutors - they’re always friendly and here to help. I’m in a small group of people in my class so I get a lot of one-on-one time with the tutors.
“What motivates me now is the opportunity of an apprenticeship at the end of the course and a career path.
“The tutors teach us a full run down of the car engine - we disassemble it, reassemble it, and see all of the components multiple times. You learn the right practices too, you’re not just following what your old man does. We learn the skills needed for when you start working.
“Working on the rally cars for the International Rally that comes to Whangarei is just awesome. It’s a really rare opportunity and gives us the experience and skills we wouldn’t usually get. It’s also really cool to network and meet the big names in the industry!
“Being in the automotive industry is great because it’s hands-on and practical work.
“If anyone is thinking about coming on this course, I would say just do it! It’s fees-free! You have nothing to lose!”
“I used to have a lot of excuses as to why I couldn’t move my life forward – the kids, or not enough time or money...
“My motivation to study Automotive Engineering was partly personal need, partly for a career change, and partly financial. I’d been working in retail for 7 years and was ready for a change. I have three young kids so I wanted something I was interested in with flexible hours, and I was keen to train in a trade to up-level my earning capacity. I’m also very reliant on my own car and wanted to be more self-sufficient in repairing it.”
“At high school I was interested in cars but there was only engineering then and that wasn’t for me, so I decided it was time to explore my car interest again. NorthTec was easy to find, had a professional feel to it, has great resources and workshops, and I’m now loving everything about the course.”
“I love learning so many new things and it’s very satisfying being able to fix something. It’s also given me more appreciation of cars and their complexity. Our class is the first to do this through e-learning which really suits me. We still do our regular class schedule and practical and theory assignments, and the tutor is there to guide us and back us up, but we hardly use any paper or books. I love this aspect because I usually loose things and this keeps me in order.”
“I’m amazed that my initial motivation to do the course was a need, then became a want, and is now a passion. It’s all new and exciting and I’m retaining the knowledge because I’m interested. I really look forward to Mondays now, and at the moment I’m removing an engine, fixing it, and replacing it. The tutors are great and explain things to a beginner like me while still attending to those with more experience. We’re from all different backgrounds and trades, and more women are stepping up now so half of our class is female.”
“There are so many possibilities as to where this training can lead and at the moment I’m developing an interest in diesel mechanics, but my options are open and I’m keen to do an apprenticeship after this.”
“When I’ve got enough experience and confidence, I’d love to open a tiny workshop especially for female customers. It can be intimidating for women going into an auto workshop and they can feel vulnerable because of the lack of knowledge. I would run the workshop on my own terms working flexible hours that suited my life, and it could model a different way to do business.”
“I used to have a lot of excuses as to why I couldn’t move my life forward – the kids, or not enough time or money – but now that I’ve stepped up, I’d encourage others to just try something. Don’t let fear stand in your way – and you might find it’s easier and more fun than you expected.”
I’m full time Dad for my three year old so the challenge is balancing study with the time with my daughter, and...
“For the last couple of years I’ve been buying cheap cars, fixing them up and selling them online or to my mates but there are gaps in my knowledge. I’m learning so much here that I wish I’d started the course sooner.”
“I love everything about cars especially older cars because they are easier to fix. The tutors set the tone of what’s expected but they come down to our level and we always have a good laugh. I’m full time Dad for my three year old so the challenge is balancing study with the time with my daughter, and NorthTec is really flexible and supportive around that.”
“I’m surprising myself by topping my class so it’s giving me something to really push for. A couple of us are older so it’s good to be a bit of a role model to the younger guys. We help them if they need it but still have to set boundaries to get our own stuff done.”
“We get to work on our own cars so there’s the input of a huge variety of opinions. As well as filling the gaps in my knowledge, we’re being introduced to other branches of the industry like parts, diesel motors and tyres. The bros are trying to push me into diesel but I want to stay with petrol so I can work with performance cars.”
“I’ll do my theory for an apprenticeship by correspondence then do the practical year to get it signed off. I want to work with performance cars all round, including making the parts for the body, motor and wheels. At the moment I’m getting my knowledge together so I can do that later.”
I’m planning to get into the military to train in automotive engineering. I’ve always known that’s what I’ve wanted...
“I’m planning to get into the military to train in automotive engineering. I’ve always known that’s what I’ve wanted to do and this course is my first step on that journey. My Dad and his Dad were in the military and I was encouraged to do this course by my Grandma who works here at NorthTec.”
“All the other students are around 16-19 and it’s good having a tutor who explains things well and shows us how to get things done. I’m really enjoying welding which is a surprise to me. I’ll probably go on to do another welding course or more automotive training after this.”
“If I get accepted into automotive engineering in the military, things will unfold from that.”
I love every part of working here and it’s been an easy transition from being a student to a working apprentice.
“I didn’t know much about automotive engineering but I was keen to learn. Before I started the course I brought my CV in here to Keith Andrews Trucks and they suggested I do the NorthTec pre-trade course. I loved it because I was hungry to learn and went into it with a fresh mind.”
“The course gave me a good general knowledge and exposed us to lots of different aspects of the industry, so I had a good grounding to come into the trade. As well as the automotive skill set, it gave us a good attitude for working with other people and keeping our work spaces and processes clean, tidy and safe.”
“Throughout the year of the course I was doing work experience here at Keith Andrews Trucks, and when I finished I applied for an apprenticeship here and got it. I’m doing the National Certificate in Motor Industry in Automotive Heavy Engineering with a Road Transport strand.”
“I love every part of working here and it’s been an easy transition from being a student to a working apprentice. I’m now starting to pick up things in more depth and am learning a lot more about how things work. I’m tapping into as much knowledge as I can here and will keep my focus as broad as possible for as long as possible to get a feel for what I want to specialize in later.”
I spoke with the workshop manager and he suggested I do the NorthTec pre-trade course, then come back and apply for...
“I grew up around trucks because my Dad was a panel-beater and I knew I wanted to go into the automotive industry but not in panel-beating. I’ve had a link here at Keith Andrews Trucks as part of our high school Gateway Programme automotive option where I had a placement here for a day a week for four weeks. I spoke with the workshop manager and he suggested I do the NorthTec pre-trade course, then come back and apply for an apprenticeship. All the new apprentices here have done that course.”
“The pre-trade course was a great fit for working here. The tutors made sure we learnt the importance of a good attitude with both customers and workmates, and they emphasized safety. We got an overview of the basics of the industry and how things work, so we can grow off that foundation. We also got a lot of trade credits that knock a year off the apprenticeship. The tutors’ great contacts and links within the industry give the students a foot in the door with job opportunities.”
“I completed the one year pre-trade course and was then offered an apprenticeship here at Keith Andrews Trucks. It involved a night class once a week and a block course each year and I became trade qualified in 2016.”
Josh has continued to learn and train on the job. “I’ve done training in Mercedes Benz, Allison Transmissions, St Johns electric and hydraulic stretchers, North Power powerline bucket trucks, and have also got my welder’s qualification to be able to weld truck chassis. It’s a tough two day test and I was lucky enough to pass. Only two others in the company have it.”
“I really like the emphasis of everyone here on always moving forward. Keith Andrews Trucks is a growing business that is now three times the size that it was when I first started with them. My next step is to do a second apprenticeship here in auto-electrical and then I’ll see what unfolds from there.”
"I looked forward to coming to Tec every day." Jordan has always loved being around cars and enjoyed the mix of...
Since leaving the automotive course, Jordan has progressed into work with AutoCare in Whangarei, where he is completing his mechanical apprenticeship, and he says: “I love my job!”
Jordan found the course at NorthTec had a great team feel between the tutors and the students, and a good mix of classroom and practical work.
“We all hung out together and built strong friendships. I looked forward to coming to Tec every day, especially as students were allowed to work on their own vehicles once they finished their course work.”
“I’m really keen on general car maintenance and I love doing car modifications. After my apprenticeship I’d love to have my own workshop one day, fixing and modifying cars.”