Scholarship Success Benefits Business

Henson and Murray Engine Rebuilders believe it’s their duty to invest time into training apprentices to produce a skilled and qualified workforce for the small but significant automotive machining sector. Co-owner Scott has worked in partnership with MITO – Te Pūkenga over the last 25 years to upskill his staff. This year, staff member Nichollas (Nick) was awarded a MITO Kickstart scholarship which funded his training for the MITO – Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Machining (Level 4).

Scott praises Nick saying, “He’s really keen to expand his knowledge in the field and is driven to further his career.” There are great benefits for both Nick and the business as a whole, Scott explains: “It furthers his whole skill base and he’s got a better understanding of all aspects of engine work - it helps us out to get a skilled worker.”

We had a chat with Nick to learn more about his journey into automotive machining.  

What has your experience been in the automotive industry so far?

I’ve loved cars since I was five years old. I decided that I wanted to be a mechanic and that was the only goal from then on. I left school at 16 and started an apprenticeship as an automotive technician. I did 35 odd years in the trade working mainly on light vehicles, but the engines were always the part of the job I loved most.

How did you get into automotive machining and what does it involve?

A couple of years ago I was offered a job here at Henson and Murray Engine Rebuilders. My dream job is to just work on engines so it has been awesome. It’s also a great place to work, with a nice group of guys and the best bosses I’ve ever worked for. The work involves machining and rebuilding engines of all makes, models, shapes and sizes. That includes anything from a smaller jet ski or motorbike engine right through to massive excavators and other heavy machinery. We also work on a lot of motors for race cars. I personally love working on the V8 engines as I’m a big motorsport fan.

How has the MITO – Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Machining (Level 4) programme been so far?

It’s been going well and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve learnt lots so far, especially while completing the theory assessments. The elearning system works very well and you just need to dedicate the time to do it. The assessors are efficient with marking and good to work with. My MITO – Te Pūkenga Training Advisor Gary Faulkner has been really helpful too.  

I’m lucky to have my on-job training at Henson and Murray Engine Rebuilders because the workshop is one of the best in the country in regard to the equipment, experience and knowledge. The team has been fantastic in helping me out and passing on their expertise.

Would you recommend the MITO – Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Machining (Level 4) programme to others?

I would. If you’ve got any interest in cars and engines, it’s a great area of the automotive industry to get into. There is a lot of technical stuff to learn, but there’s a huge amount of satisfaction when you do a nice job and put it all together. If you can dedicate a few years of your life to it, you will get some great rewards.

What was it like to be awarded a MITO Kickstart scholarship?

I had been discussing with my bosses the possibility of an apprenticeship and how I wanted to learn more when we received an email from MITO – Te Pūkenga about the scholarships, so we decided to give it a crack. I was blown away when I found out. I was surprised they awarded it to someone my age, so it was quite exciting and definitely a proud moment. If you are thinking about applying for a scholarship, don’t hesitate, just go for it!

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Krishneel (Kris) first started at Porter Mechanical in Canterbury as a car groomer. It wasn’t long before South Island Production Manager, Duane, observed Kris’s dedication to his work and thought he would be a great candidate for an apprenticeship.

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