Euro City Napier owner Terry Elmsly is a big advocate for taking on apprentices. “In my opinion it is vital for businesses to always be training from within and cultivating new staff,” he says. “A couple of apprentices on the workshop floor is really invaluable.”

Terry’s current apprentice, 21-year-old Regan Penn was recommended to Terry through MITO and has really proven himself as an asset to the company during his apprenticeship.

“Regan is an absolute pleasure to have around – he’s focused, determined, and a very well-presented young man,” says Terry.

From growing up around Speedway to excelling in engineering and metalwork at school, a career in the automotive industry was always on the cards for Regan. Now he’s completing a New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering through MITO and is loving learning a trade.

“My dad has been a mechanic at a few different places and something he always drilled into me was to make sure I have a qualification to my name,” Regan explains. “It’s great to have something to fall back on and have that recognition of your skills.”

While keen to get qualified, Regan never liked the idea of having a student loan. The fact that by completing an apprenticeship he could earn and learn at the same time really appealed to him. “Knowing that if I had gone to university, I’d have a huge student loan and may not even have a job at the end of it, that really didn’t appeal to me,” he says. “I feel a lot safer in a way – I will come out of this fully qualified and with a full-time job.”

For someone like Regan, who was never a fan of classroom-based learning, an apprenticeship perfectly suits his learning style. “My favourite thing about completing an apprenticeship is the fact that I can learn on-the-job,” says Regan. “I find it easier to learn things by doing them, not by sitting in a classroom.” And, he adds, “I can put what I learn in to practice straight away.”

Learning in the workshop environment also means that Regan can learn from experienced technicians every day. “The team here are all really helpful and well qualified. I like to pick the Foreman’s brain when I don’t know something, so that’s really good.”

With MITO’s eLearning, learners can complete theory elements of their programme from their laptop, tablet, or smartphone – from anywhere, and at any time. “I really like the online learning, especially for theory because you know immediately if you got the answer wrong – there’s no delay,” says Regan.

Terry’s advice for aspiring automotive technicians is straightforward: put yourself out there. “If you’re mechanically minded or have a leaning towards mechanical work rather than academia, don’t be scared to go door knocking and offer your services free of charge,” he says. “The key is to promote yourself and show that you’re keen.”

Regan echoes Terry’s sentiments. “You may start off washing cars or something like that. Although that may not be exactly what you want to be doing, you have got to keep at it and show them you have got a great work ethic,” he says. “Just keep pushing through and ticking away at it – it will be worth it!”

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