With a strong family presence in the automotive industry, it was no wonder that Warren Paulsen, Paint Supervisor at Brokers Panel & Paint Limited in Rotorua, found himself there too. “Many of my family members developed a keen interest in the process of repairing, restoring and refinishing and I always liked to help out,” he says.

Warren Paulsen, Paint Supervisor at Brokers Panel & Paint Limited in Rotorua

After befriending a paint manufacturer who offered insight into the painting processes, and completing an automotive college course, Warren’s passion sparked. “I worked with anyone willing to teach me,” he mentions. “Painting, panelbeating, welding even.”

Warren’s hard work and enthusiasm for the industry made him a prime apprentice for Brokers Panel & Paint Limited in Rotorua. Branch Manager, Rick Osborne, explains that one of the most important qualities of an apprentice is enthusiasm. “We want someone that will turn up every day, will listen and has a good attitude,” he describes.

With a strong automotive background and exposure to the different facets of the industry early on, Warren discovered that refinishing was the path for him, completing a New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Refinishing (Level 3 and 4) through MITO.

Warren appreciated the on-the-job aspect of the programme, “you could be learning in a class or at school, but in a workshop, you learn among other painters what things are, what causes them and how we rectify it, which I think is a great way of learning.”

When asked what he likes most about refinishing, Warren explains that it’s the transforming of vehicles back to their former glory, saying, “you see it come in at its worst and leave at its best. That’s the most satisfying feeling you can have.”

Warren credits the support of his family and workplace for his apprenticeship success. “I will use every opportunity to try to unlock a better future for my kids,” he says. “Being born in South Africa, under apartheid, we had substandard education and limited opportunities. Education is the key, and my aim is to keep learning.”

Rick agrees with Warren’s view on education, and how important it is for apprentices to be open and willing to learn. “They’ve got to want to learn because they start with a clean plate, without that knowledge yet,” he says. “They have to have the right attitude and be able to listen and take everything on board.”

Warren also credits his MITO Industry Training Advisor, Dene, who helped support and push him to the finish line, saying, “It was great to have him in my corner.”

In the future, Warren wants to share his knowledge with the industry. He states, “I’m passionate about giving back and I want to have the opportunity to share my experiences and support others.”

Rick explains that training up apprentices right from the start means that they are prepared to take over from the qualified older generations in the future. “It’s very important that we have people coming into the industry when the older generation are leaving,” he says. “We’ve got to upskill them now because there may not be ones behind us if we don’t.”

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