Global Bus Ventures is on a mission to build over 100 buses, and when you’re building them from the ground up, there’s a lot of components to complete the puzzle. “On a city bus, we build the whole chassis which is quite unusual,” explains Des Cavill, Operation Manager at Global Bus Ventures. “This involves a lot of departments, including chassis, engineering, paint, body, assembly, electrical, CCTV and it also has to be booked for a pre-delivery check with the manufacturer, among other things. It’s quite a long process!”

As a result, Global Bus Ventures requires a lot of hands on deck and they are looking to take on even more staff for the large project of building 100 buses. “We have fifteen learners on site but we, and the industry, need a lot more,” Des explains.

Global Bus Ventures coachbuilding learner, Blake De Haan agrees with Des, saying, “there’s a shortage of coachbuilders and it’s an industry that’s growing, as you can see with Global Bus. Whether it’s diesel or electric buses, there’s always going to be a need for qualified coachbuilders.”

Blake was drawn to the automotive industry after completing campervan conversions and decided it was the path for him. “The good thing is there’s a variety of work that you learn here with all the different departments. I’m currently in engineering but I’ve been in the glazing department and there’s a lot more as well.”

Blake’s completing MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Coachbuilding (Level 3). This programme provides learners with knowledge of fundamental automotive engineering vehicle systems, and the skills required to complete basic assembly, fit parts and components and carry out minor repairs on coaches, motor homes and caravans.

Blake explains how useful the skills he’s learning will be in the future. “Eventually I’d like to start my own business making small campervans and van conversions. My partner and I are looking at buying a van to fit out into a travel van. It requires a lot of the skills that you learn here.”

Coachbuilding learner, Seth Harris, commends the flexibility of the programme. “The whole training process is great,” he says. “You’re not limited by having to complete things by a certain time and my work is pretty open to when we need, or want, to change departments. You’re pretty much taught the whole automotive process from start to finish which is really interesting so it’s definitely an industry that I want to stay in for sure!”

The future opportunities from coachbuilding are another reason why Seth was drawn to the trade. He originally studied automotive engineering out of school but found his way to coachbuilding as a result of COVID-19 and hasn’t looked back since. “The automotive industry, and coachbuilding in particular, is so varied and working here gives you a much clearer idea of that,” he explains. “Coachbuilding offers many different trades in one so can lead to a lot of different opportunities out there.”

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