"Nothing's Impossible" for MITO Apprentice

A career in the automotive industry had always been on the cards for Emma. Growing up around family friends working on cars, and later owning and racing her own race car, it made total sense for her to pursue a career in the industry.

She started her career in the parts industry, before moving into a service advisor role, and finally to Repairhub Hornby, where she now works as an apprentice refinisher.

“What I really like about completing my apprenticeship here at Repairhub is I’ve had the chance to spend time in every different part of the workshop,” she says. Emma explains that this exposure to each part of the process has given her a much better understanding of how the workshop operates. “I know the full breakdown of how a job comes apart, how it gets repaired, how it gets prepped, to the final stage of painting and polishing. It gives you a great overview of the whole process.”

From the time she started at Repairhub, Emma knew she wanted to complete an apprenticeship. Now halfway through MITO - Te Pūkenga’s New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Refinishing (Level 3 and 4), she’s loving learning on-the-job.

“The major benefit of learning on-the-job is that you’re getting paid while you do it!” Emma laughs. “I also really like that I can learn from multiple people. It allows me to learn different skills and tricks of the trade from a variety of skilled people.”

“In terms of support, my MITO - Te Pūkenga Training Advisor, Allan, has been absolutely amazing,” she says. “The markers are all really fast too. It’s cool getting an email saying your work has been marked and reading the comments – I get such a buzz from it!”

Repairhub’s New Zealand Training Manager, Andy Trumper, has nothing but good things to say about Emma’s progress.

“From when she first started, she’s been focused on achieving, and that hasn’t changed,” he says. “She’s always been very willing to help the other apprentices with staying motivated too.”

Her dedication to honing her craft is clear, Andy says: “She’s got a great attention to detail, she’s meticulous, and she’s always willing to try new things.”

“She’s even asked to do painting after hours in her own time to get additional practice – it’s an impressive work ethic!”

Andy can already tell that Emma’s career in the industry is going to be a successful one, no matter where she chooses to take it.

“We’re really trying to grow her, but we’re also in favour of her spreading her wings and going somewhere else for a bit if that’s what she’d like to do.” It’s that kind of variety and experience that allows you to learn so much more, he says.

As for Emma, her priority is getting qualified. While she’s always keen to upskill, she’s looking forward to a few years painting before climbing the career ladder. For her, it’s a genuine passion, and something that makes her excited to come into the workshop every day.

“Knowing that I’ve prepped the day before, and can come in and start painting straight away, then being able to see the progress, it’s just an awesome vibe!” she says.

While Emma discovered her passion for refinishing almost ten years after beginning her career in the automotive industry, she has no regrets and encourages anyone who might be interested to consider a career change to this rewarding industry.

“Nothing’s impossible,” Emma says. “If it’s something that you’re interested in, give it a try – it’s never too late!”

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