New qualification revitalises the motorhome building industry

TrailLite Group are celebrating as the first four of their motorhome builders achieve their New Zealand Certificate in Coachbuilding - Level 3. TrailLite Group was established back in 1954 and has grown to become New Zealand’s leading motorhome and caravan manufacturer and retailer, plus a key employer of production staff in the Franklin area.

“We’ve always been committed to investing in the future of our staff and giving them opportunities to study and progress in their roles,” says TrailLite Groups’ Joint Managing Director, Shaun Newman.  “Coachbuilding used to be a trade in New Zealand but an official qualification has been unavailable for many years. We spent a lot of time looking around, without success, for a programme that covered the diversity of the skills required for the motorhome industry.”

Qualified coachbuilders: Georgia, Watesone, Dylan and Matt

Shaun was pleased when MITO - Te Pūkenga re-established the Coachbuilding apprenticeship two years ago. He encouraged four members of the TrailLite team to enrol and worked with MITO - Te Pūkenga to ensure the course was relevant to the motorhome industry.

Over the past 19 months, overseen by TrailLites’ Quality and Improvements Manager Ryan Pope, and fully supported by the business, the apprentices have achieved the rejuvenated qualification through a combination of learning on the job, working on assignments, and liaising with their MITO Training Advisor Alan Clarke.

Dylan, whose been at TrailLite for seven years, loves everything about motorhome building. In fact, he says it’s the best job he’s ever had, so gaining the qualification was a logical progression for him. He’s enjoying the challenge of learning, and working on assignments with the other apprentices has been a huge help. In fact, the four of them are about to begin their Level 4 qualification together and are now mentoring five new apprentices through the programme.

For Shaun, the qualification is a revitalisation of the industry, upskilling the workforce and giving them something to work towards and take pride in, which is a positive outcome for everybody.

Photo and story supplied by TrailLite Group.