Zak Jackson’s impressive achievements are a credit to his strong work ethic. As well as being the Clyde Cunningham QSM Memorial scholarship recipient of 2018, 21-year-old Zak has a history of successes in the motorcycle engineering sector, and a multitude of goals for the future.

After finishing high school as the top graphics student of his year, university beckoned the high achiever. But it was his desire to be actively using his hands instead of sitting in a lecture theatre that swayed him towards the trades. “I never liked the idea of going to university. Straight out of school and into writing essays and sitting at a desk all day just wasn’t for me.”

Zak secured a job as an apprentice motorcycle technician after seeing the vacancy advertised in the local paper. After receiving a 2016 Kick Start scholarship from MITO, he went on to become qualified by completing a National Certificate in Motor Industry (Motorcycle Engineering) (Level 4).

Always pushing himself to achieve, Zak finished his qualification four months early. “I made sure that I allocated time every day after work to study.” His hard work paid off and equipped him with the skills he needed to excel in the industry. “The amount of knowledge I’ve gained is the best part,” says Zak.

With not only a passion for motorcycles, but a passion for learning, Zak was inspired to apply for the Clyde Cunningham QSM Memorial scholarship, to once again further his skills and receive recognition for his hard work.

Established in honour of the late Clyde Cunningham, a long-standing MITO employee, the scholarship, which is awarded to a MITO automotive graduate in the Hawke's Bay region, pays for the first year fees for MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) (Level 4) qualification.

Upon receiving news that he had been successful in his application for the scholarship, both Zak and Hastings Honda manager Grant Merwood were thrilled. “It’s the next step in my career” says Zak. “Both receiving the scholarship and completing the qualification will be hugely beneficial for me. Gaining that recognition and having that under your belt can really take you places.”

Grant agrees that the scholarship has provided a fantastic opportunity for Zak, and believes he will undoubtedly excel. In addition to that, Grant is also pleased with how the New Zealand Certificate in Business will positively impact Hastings Honda as a whole. “Not only does the qualification benefit Zak,” says Grant, “but it benefits our business in the long run – you can never have too many people with the skills to keep your customers happy!”

Zak credits his MITO Industry Training Advisors as a large part of his success. “They’re really great and know what they’re doing,” Zak says. “I was very fortunate to have them supporting me through my apprenticeship.”

The variety of work that Zak does on a daily basis is what keeps him excited about his job. From road bikes to quad bikes, his days are filled with fixing, servicing and problem solving – while working on some amazing motorcycles.

 So what will the future hold for Zak once he has completed his New Zealand Certificate in Business? “Perhaps one day I’ll work towards a qualification in Light Automotive Engineering,” he says. “After all, I do have nine cars that I’m working on in my spare time!”

Looks like this high achiever is just getting started.

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