Custom Career Tailor-Made

As an apprentice motorsport technician at Possum Bourne Motorsport in Pukekohe, nineteen-year-old Daniel Barber gets to design and build products for race and performance cars – and has found a passion for custom fabrication. His typical day involves building exhausts, doing custom intercooler piping and then installing parts on cars. “Another big part of my job is working on the Possum Bourne rally car,” says Daniel. “I get to upgrade that and design and create parts for it too.”

While at school, Daniel loved making things with his hands and excelled at engineering. He achieved NCEA Level 3 with university entrance but decided that the university path wasn’t going to be for him. “I thought it would be much more beneficial to get straight into the industry and learn through an apprenticeship,” says Daniel. “I could have easily gone to university and studied something like engineering, but nothing about sitting through lectures appealed to me. I didn’t really see how that could help me and my career in the motorsport industry. Instead, I knew the hands-on approach of on-the-job training could teach me a whole lot more and I’d get exposed to the industry early on in my career.” 

Daniel got in touch with Possum Bourne Motorsport General Manager Julius Bloem, to register his interest in some work experience while he completed a motorsport course at Manukau Institute of Technology. “Daniel contacted us as he was really keen about pursuing a job in the industry,” Julius says. “We took him on part-time and quickly saw a lot of potential in him. There is a huge demand for skilled technicians so we didn’t hesitate in offering Daniel an apprenticeship. What really stood out for me was his massive desire to learn and work hard - two traits that are really important in this industry. So, we just had to snap him up!”

Completing a National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) with strand in Light Vehicle (Level 3 and 4) through MITO, Daniel spends a good part of the day working alongside the other technicians in the workshop. As an on-the-job learner, it’s something that he thoroughly enjoys. “It’s definitely one of the benefits of doing an apprenticeship. You’re working with senior technicians who have so much experience and knowledge that they can pass on to you.”

The relationship is mutually enjoyed. “We really like having an apprentice as part of the team,” says Julius. “I’ve seen a really positive impact on our workplace culture – the senior technicians all enjoy teaching Daniel and passing on their knowledge to someone so keen and able. It gives their work even more meaning and creates a great atmosphere in the workplace.”

But the benefits don’t stop there for Daniel. “Getting an industry-based qualification means I’m able to earn and learn – effectively getting paid to study! I come to work, learn all the cool things about the industry while on the job and earn money at the same time. Plus, getting qualified through an apprenticeship is a great reflection of my skills and knowledge and will allow me to take my career world-wide.”

With an obvious passion and enthusiasm for the industry, Daniel recently received both a $300 monetary grant, presented by The Fellowship of the Motor Industry and a 2017 MITO Kick Start scholarship – contributing $1,000 towards the first year fees of his apprenticeship. “I was so excited to find out I had received the grant and scholarship,” said Daniel. “Something like that is invaluable in giving me a kick start in my career.”

It’s obviously a career that’s tailor-made for Daniel. 

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