After developing a passion for cars in her early twenties, Amber Kay decided to take it upon herself to get qualified. “After a couple of months in a pre-trade course, I found that I really enjoyed pulling things apart and learning how they worked,” she says. “From there, I finished that year of study and I got offered an automotive apprenticeship.”

Amber completed her New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering (Level 3 and 4) through MITO, saying, “I really enjoyed it and learnt so much. “I got to work in a practical environment and a lot of the stuff that I learnt in the pre-trade course actually started to click which was quite a cool experience for me.”

2021 MITO Automotive Parts and Accessories scholarship winner, Amber Kay, pictured with Phil Noble, Parts Maanger at Capital City Motors, Lower Hutt

“I unfortunately got made redundant because of COVID-19 but still managed to complete my qualification thanks to MITO and my Industry Training Advisor Brian,” Amber explains. “MITO was really supportive and did what they could to help get me over the line.”

Despite her clear knack for mechanics, Amber couldn’t stay in the job. “Since completing my qualification, I’ve had some issues with my knee. Hands-on mechanical work wasn’t a good option anymore, but I didn’t want to leave the industry. I’d definitely found the one I wanted to stay in, so I found a job that’s the best of both worlds.”

Amber now works as a Parts Consultant for Capital City Motors in Lower Hutt. “Everything I’ve learnt from being a qualified technician has helped make my job so much easier,” Amber says.

Phil Noble, Parts Manager at Capital City Motors saw strong potential in Amber from the start. “You could just tell that she was a go-getter and very motivated,” he says. “Her technical knowledge from her mechanical training along with her personality really shone through.”

Since starting this role, Amber has been awarded a 2021 MITO Automotive Parts and Accessories Scholarship. “I was pretty stoked,” she says of her win. “I’m always keen to learn more and develop myself further for the benefit of myself and my workplace so it was sort of a no-brainer to apply.”

Despite training as an automotive technician, Amber’s always been interested in the parts side of the automotive trade. “Even as a tech, I’d do what I could in the workshop to help out the people in the parts department and it got to a point where I’d know parts numbers off by heart,” she describes. “I was quite confident in my product knowledge and I do really enjoy being in this role now.”

As a female in a traditionally male-dominated trade, Amber had doubts that she’d get to where she is now but quickly changed her view once she started working in the trade. “There’s no reason why females can’t work in the automotive industry,” she says. “I didn’t know what to expect when I went into it, but I’ve had a very positive experience along with a very supportive group around me.”

Long term, Amber wants to work her way up the ladder into a management position, saying, “I’m part of a tight knit team in this role. I’d love to be able to provide that for my own team one day, take on more responsibility and do what I can to make a business the best it can be.”

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