“Future proof your career” says 2023 scholar

From being a kid who loved cars to growing up an avid motorsport fan, it was a natural progression for Benjamin Handley (Ben) to pursue a career in the automotive industry. Over his 11-year career, spent primarily at Miles Group, Ben has gone from car groomer to apprentice, to qualified technician, to a workshop foreman. Never afraid to take the next step, Ben decided to upskill further this year by enrolling in the MITO – Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering (Level 5).

The programme covers the skills and knowledge needed to safely inspect, service and repair light electric vehicles and includes eLearning, on-job and off-job training. As a self-described petrolhead who enjoys burning fuel, Ben still found the programme interesting. “You learn how intelligent hybrid systems are and how much of an engineering marvel it really is that people have been able to develop these new technologies.”

Ben praised his off-job training tutors from Southern Institute of Technology – Te Pūkenga for being extremely knowledgeable and the MITO – Te Pūkenga eLearning system for being efficient, straight forward and a streamlined way to access resources. Service Manager Bill Potter of the Miles Group agrees stating “I’m pretty happy with what he’s bringing back and how MITO – Te Pūkenga has been conducting the training, that’s for sure.”

Recognising the importance of continuing to learn, Ben recommends the Level 5 Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering programme. “The automotive industry is ever evolving and there’s always new technologies to keep on top of. Failing to do that will hurt in the long run.” He believes the programme has given him a necessary head start. “In the next decade these skills are going to be pretty imperative to everyday mechanics. Automotive technicians will need to know exactly how to not only work on these sorts of vehicles safely, but also how to diagnose effectively when there is a problem.”

Bill also recommends the programme as he sees the benefits for both the workshop and his customers. “It’ll be something he will draw on daily in his role,” Bill says. “He’ll have the knowledge to pass onto the other technicians on the floor, and also the knowledge and confidence to talk to customers about how their vehicle operates and the functionality of our hybrids.” Bill also appreciates MITO – Te Pūkenga Training Advisor Lisa Florance for all the care, attention and effort she gives Ben and his team. “She does a fantastic job at keeping the team on track.­”

Ben was pleased to receive a 2023 MITO – Te Pūkenga and Inspiring Futures Foundation scholarship which funded the training programme and acknowledged his hard work. “He’s energetic, and passionate about the trade,” says Bill who was stoked to hear the news. “He absorbs knowledge well and will retain what he’s learnt. It will certainly hold him in good stead for the future.” Ben thinks anyone thinking of applying for a scholarship should just go for it. “The more you can improve your skills the better. Future proof your career.”

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