From Desk to Tools - "Do It!"

Apprentice Automotive Technician, Toni Harris, always wanted a career in an automotive workshop. After working in the office at an Auto Super Shoppe workshop in Pukekohe for several years, Toni plucked up the courage to ask to move from the office to the workshop in 2020, when the Government waived training fees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the workshop,” Toni says. “It’s always been my interest, but I just never asked. When the free fees came in, I just decided to go for it, and I was out in the workshop that week starting my apprenticeship!”

Toni’s now well on her way to completing a New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering (Level 3 and 4) through MITO. A family move in location, means that she is now working at Deane Mark Auto Super Shoppe in Te Awamutu.

Auto Super Shoppe Apprentice Automotive Technician, Toni Harris

As a female in the industry, Toni has had nothing but positive experiences. “A lot of the time, our female customers love that there’s a female in the workshop and working here has been amazing. Conrad, the business owner, has been great – he’s never treated me any differently than the guys. He’s created a really friendly atmosphere where work is relaxed and a fun place to be.”

Being a mother of four, Toni explains the importance of taking time for yourself and finding a work/life balance. “After the kids have gone to bed, that’s when I’m studying on the laptop,” she says. “Instead of TV, I’m watching the videos or doing the online assessments. You just have to make time for yourself. You have to do it.”

In addition to considering the programme, “really good and user-friendly,” Toni says that the support from her MITO Training Advisor has been a great help along the way. “I can text her if I’m having an issue, and she replies really quickly. She pops in regularly to help go over things and she taught me how to use the online portal. To have that support there is really great.”

If you’re thinking about joining the automotive industry, here are some final words of inspiration from Toni - “For other woman... I say do it! Take the plunge, take the risk, ask for what you want. Women in the automotive industry will hopefully soon be the norm! Don't be left behind, and left wondering... what if I had just done it? You are 100% just as capable as your male counterparts.”

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