CAREER CHANGE WELL WORTH IT

After driving trucks for 10 years, Hillary Moffatt was after a change. Still interested in heavy vehicles, she decided to give up driving trucks, and try her hand at fixing them instead.

Now a qualified diesel technician, 40-year-old Hillary is passionate about encouraging others to pursue the things they’re interested in – no matter their age.

“My dad was a truck driver, my grandfather was a truck driver, and my great grandfather was a truck driver, so it’s safe to say this sort of thing runs in the blood!” says Hillary. “From when I was little and we lived in Australia, I was constantly trying to get out of school so I could go across state with dad while he drove,” she laughs.

“Then when I got older, I was always with the boys at school, hanging out with them in the shed while they built engines and worked on cars. Sitting inside with the girls just never really appealed to me.”

After completing a National Certificate in Heavy Automotive Engineering with strand in Road Transport through MITO, Hillary is now a fully qualified diesel technician working at Cummins Rotorua.

Hillary gets to be hands-on every day and is always up for the challenges the variety of her work can bring. “Each day I could be working on anything from boats, to forest machinery, to trucks on the side of the road,” she says. “Even though I’m qualified now, I’m still learning every day, which is great – I just really love to learn.”

Hillary admits that it can be a challenge going out in the field on her own and being tasked with working out what is wrong with vehicles. “There’s a fair bit of problem solving, so you really have to go back to basics,” she explains. “You have to sit back, think about what you’ve learned, and apply it to the job.”

Cummins Rotorua Interim Truck Bay Supervisor Arie Polkinghorne describes Hillary as a model employee. “She’s got a fantastic work ethic,” he says. “She gives everything she has to the job at hand.” During his time as her supervisor, Arie has noticed that Hillary is not afraid to put herself out there – a quality that he really admires. “In those group situations where people are a little shy to put their hand up, she’s never afraid to ask questions and speak up.”

Now that Hillary is fully qualified, Arie only sees her moving up in the industry. “She’s just going to keep developing her skillset and gaining that hands-on experience that comes from working on the product,” he says.

As for Hillary, she plans to stay on the tools for a few more years, before hopefully moving into supervisory role where she can pass her knowledge on to new apprentices. “We have a new apprentice and he’s working next to me now which is great – I really enjoy the teaching side of things, so in the long-term I can definitely see myself doing that.”

To anyone who may think they’re too old for a change in career, Hillary has some solid advice: “You’re never too old to try something new,” she says. “If it’s something you really want to do, you’ve just got to dive in with open arms – trust me, it’s worth it.”

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