It’s not often you hear of a 17-year-old who favours old classics over newer, faster cars. But Jayden Towgood-Brown has no doubt in his mind that owning his own vehicle restoration business one day would be his dream career. So, to help make his dream a reality, he’s completing MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair (Non-Structural Repair) (Level 3 and 4).

“I’ve always loved old cars,” says Jayden. “My family have always had an interest in cars, but I’m the only one who seems to lean towards the older ones,” he laughs. “I guess I just have an affinity for how cars were made back then.”

While still at school, Jayden knew his passion lay in the automotive industry and so enrolled in a work experience programme which allowed him to work two days a week in the workshop at Rob Walker Spray Painters & Smash Repairers in Masterton. He liked it there so much, he got a part-time job after school washing the cars. “I just wanted as much experience as I could get,” says Jayden. “Then, once I had gained my NCEA Level 2 at school, Rob offered me an apprenticeship as a collision repair technician and I just knew it was what I wanted to do.”

Business owner Rob Walker says Jayden displays attributes well beyond his years. “He’s only young, but he has quickly shown himself to be self-motivated and enthusiastic about both his work and the industry. He expresses a mature nature and shows plenty of initiative in the workplace. The team are all pretty impressed by him.”

Jayden is just three months into his apprenticeship but says the MITO training programme is already helping him to apply what he’s learning to new tasks at his work. He’s also enjoying the flexibility of the programme’s eLearning content. “The eLearning’s great and really easy,” says Jayden. “I can access heaps of resources like videos and interactive simulations, or complete theory elements of the programme on my phone whenever or wherever I want.”

The eLearning’s great and really easy. I can access heaps of resources like videos and interactive simulations, or complete theory elements of the programme on my phone whenever or wherever I want.

Acknowledging his commitment to the industry, Jayden was one of MITO’s 2018 Kick Start scholarship recipients – which contributes $1,000 towards the fees for his apprenticeship. As Jayden was eligible for two years of free fees for industry training through the Government, the scholarship is transferred to the third year of his training programme, meaning the annual training fees for his entire apprenticeship may be fully funded.

“Finding out I was a MITO scholarship recipient was amazing,” says Jayden. “I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day, I was so happy! Getting paid to get qualified is already great, but the scholarship really gives me a head start in my career and pushes me to want to learn more.”

Jayden’s motivation to achieve his goals is more than evident and he says that once he has completed his apprenticeship, he’ll look at completing MITO’s automotive refinishing qualification. “Gaining a qualification formalises my skills, knowledge and experience and I’d like to extend that to the paint side of the industry too so that I have as much knowledge as possible. I think that will really help me when I ultimately run my own vehicle restoration business one day.”

For now though, Jayden is focused on fully restoring an ’89 Mazda MX5 in his spare time. “Not quite the type of old car I’m aiming for - but it’s a start!”

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