The Drive to Get it Done

Carter McLeod didn’t always know that he wanted to work in the automotive industry. However, after enrolling in MITO - Te Pūkenga’s StartUp® programme, he knew he was embarking on the right path.

“Towards the middle of NCEA Level 1, I realised that I wasn’t really enjoying school. By the time I finished Level 1 and was heading into Level 2, I found it hard to pay attention. Then the dean enrolled me in StartUp® and I found that I loved being around cars all day and fixing things,” he explains. “I’m quite hands-on and like to see how things move to understand how they work.”

The transition from classroom to workshop paid off for Carter, who’s now completed his New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering (Level 3 and 4) through MITO – Te Pūkenga at Macaulay Motors Limited in Invercargill.

Carter had worked on cars a little before his time in the workshop, learning from his dad how to do things like changing oil and headlight bulbs. Learning on-the-job presented the opportunity to learn even more. “Getting the opportunity to try different things for the first time was awesome – finding what you like doing. There was a lot of variety.”

At school, Carter says he found it difficult to stay motivated and retain information. “I’m not the best at reading and writing so I did struggle with the theory side of things initially. I found it hard to get the motivation to sit down and push through it all, but once I got into the habit of setting a time to do it, I got a lot better at it.”

As a result, Carter kept on track to complete his qualification well within the expected four-year duration.

Service Operations Manager at Macaulay Motors, Steve Snoep, explains that Carter’s motivation and drive was a stand-out from the get-go. “He embraced the training and was determined to be successful. He’s done very well to get through in the time that he has.”

Carter says his MITO - Te Pūkenga Training Advisor, Keri, was on hand for support throughout his apprenticeship. “I found Keri awesome to work with,” he says. “She was always quick to respond if I sent her a text or an email. I could talk to her about any issues I was having and get a solution. She also helped me organise attending one-on-one literacy assistance night classes.”

On the heels of completing his qualification, Carter isn’t stopping there and plans to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering (Level 5) next. “I’ve set myself tasks and goals to be achieved by certain times and one of them is to get as qualified as I possibly can!”

When asked if working in the automotive industry was the right decision for him, Carter has no doubts, and says more students should consider it as an option, especially those who are struggling at school. “It’s absolutely changed what I thought was going to happen with my life, for the best. It’s put me on a path with structure and consistency, and I’d recommend it to anyone.”

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