As someone who’s hired many apprentices over the years, Craig Fenton, owner of Greerton Panel & Paint Repairs in Tauranga, knew straight away he’d found a good employee in Deepak Kodan. “He’s one of the best apprentices I’ve ever had,” Craig says. “He’s going ahead in leaps and bounds.”

Not only is Deepak’s work ethic a standout above the rest, he’s on track to complete his New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Refinishing (Level 3 and 4) through MITO well ahead of schedule.

With Level 3 completed in under a year and Level 4 not far behind, Deepak is just shy of becoming a fully qualified automotive refinisher. “He’s flying through his apprenticeship,” Craig adds.

Automotive Refinishing apprentice Deepak Kodan

Originally from India, Deepak arrived in New Zealand over two years ago and quickly discovered his passion for the automotive industry after working in a panel shop in Auckland. “I came to New Zealand and did some studies here but didn’t find it that interesting.” he says. “I’ve always been keen on cars and the panel shop work was much more exciting.”

Deepak then secured an apprentice car painter position at Greerton Panel & Paint Repairs and found that refinishing was the career path for him.

When asked what drew him to the refinishing sector in particular, he describes how enjoyable learning the skills on-the-job are. “When I come to work, I’m always happy to learn something new,” he explains. “The best part is when you’re ready to spray on the colour!”

Craig explains that it’s important for an apprentice to be enthusiastic to learn, reinforcing Deepak’s statements. “They’ve got to stand back, look at what they’ve achieved and get a thrill out of what they’ve created. He’s a really hard worker and keen to learn and his paint work’s improving all the time.”

Deepak agrees that over time and with the help of his workplace, he’s just getting better, adding, “every day I’m getting more and more experienced. The more jobs I’m doing and the more I’m learning, the better at refinishing I’m getting.”

In addition to the training support at his workplace, Deepak’s MITO Industry Training Advisor, Gary, is always on hand for guidance and encouragement. “I think he’s the best,” Deepak says. “He’s a very supportive person because he always guides me with what to do and praises me for all the hard work.”

Based on Deepak’s knack for refinishing and passion for the automotive industry, it was a no brainer when he decided to get qualified. “I was enjoying the work a lot and when I started at Greerton, I heard about the apprenticeship,” he says. “I thought it’d be good to get a qualification.”

Craig agrees that gaining an automotive qualification is essential. “It’s vital to the survival of our trades. We need to train apprentices so they can become senior tradespeople and fill in the gaps.”

If you’re wondering what Deepak’s secret to success is, he explains it’s as simple as loving what you do. “If you see your job as something you have to do, then you’ll think of it as a chore but if you enjoy it, you won’t think of it as work.”

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