EV GRADUATE A TESLA TECHNICIAN
In 2019 MITO launched the New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering (Level 5). Available to qualified automotive technicians, the programme provides learners with the skills and knowledge required to inspect, service and repair light electric vehicles safely.
35-year-old Chris Pearson, a senior service technician at Tesla in Auckland, was the first in the country to complete the training programme.
The achievement was one of many for Chris, who after completing his apprenticeship with BMW in the United Kingdom, worked his way up the ranks to Master Technician.
While Chris enjoyed his work in more traditional workshops, he was always interested in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. “Before I was here, I was always putting my hand up for EV or hybrid courses,” he says. “So when the opportunity came for me to take up a position with Tesla, it was a no-brainer for me. I could see that electric vehicles were the future, and I wanted exposure to them every day.” Now, after being with Tesla for two and a half years, Chris says working for the company is a “dream”. “I get to solely concentrate on electric vehicles every day, and practice honing my skills.”
Working on electric cars each day is considerably different to working on petrol and diesel vehicles. “It’s all very clean,” says Chris. “We very rarely work with oil or coolant – a lot of it is more computer programming, so our floors stay pretty white!”
Chris emphasises the importance of knowing exactly what you’re doing when working on electric vehicles. “One mistake while working can be fatal, so it’s really important for our industry that technicians are properly trained and understand the inherent risks of certain components when they’re live.”
The programme is made up of both practical and eLearning elements, something which Chris really enjoyed. “The eLearning was great for me, it allowed me to balance my work and family life,” he says. “It would save all my work, so it made it easy for me to jump on for an hour or so in between family things. I found that much easier than trying to find the time to set three or four hours aside.”
Chris also appreciated the management elements of the programme. “I was surprised that the programme incorporated management and self-awareness skills, but I definitely got a lot out of them,” he says. “It made me look at where I was, how I am received by other people, and how I can get the best out of myself and my colleagues.”
Although Chris already had experience working on electric vehicles, he benefited from the practical side of the programme also. “The practical work gave me more of a chance to really read into the systems and understand the background behind everything in far more detail,” he says.
Now a fully qualified electric vehicle technician, Chris is eager to help foster more young talent in the industry. “I was quite interested in the management side of things that the programme covered,” he says. “I’ve taken apprentices through their programmes in the past and I really enjoyed it, so training and management both really appeal to me.”
As technology continues to advance, so to do the capabilities of electric vehicles – something that Chris is pleased he can be a part of. “Tesla started producing cars in 2008, so we’re still a young company in the scheme of things,” he says. “There’s so much room for growth, and it’s definitely an exciting time to be in the industry!”