Opportunities to connect apprentices to industry
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology says they are helping fill a nationwide shortage of automotive technicians, with tutors seeking to link more apprentices to industry thanks to a Government funding boost.
The new Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) scheme means employers will get money for any apprentices they agree to take on. Employers of first-year apprentices gain $1000 a month, with a further $500 per month for second-year apprentices.
The TTAF is part of the Government's $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package and is part of the $320 million COVID-19 recovery plan. The fund is providing free tertiary study between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022 across more than 130 qualifications, including automotive technology.
Rebecca Rouse has taught automotive courses at Toi Ohomai for the past six years and says demand for automotive technicians has been consistently high for at least a decade. This keeps motivating her to actively recruit more apprentices to ensure the industry has enough qualified technicians to meet current and future needs.
Rebecca instructs Level 3 students two days each week, catering for students who are studying automotive engineering at high school, as well as apprentices who are already working in the industry.
The Secondary-Tertiary Programme (STP) offers high school students a first taste of the industry, with the automotive programme being offered in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupō, Tokoroa and Whakatāne.
Level 1 STP students attend the Toi Ohomai automotive programme for ten days during term 1, while Level 2 students attend once a week throughout the school year.
“They can take this [STP] qualification that they’re learning and run with our Toi Ohomai apprenticeship programme in industry once they get a job. All of it crosses over,” Rebecca says.
Using a mix of online assessment and night classes, Rebecca also helps apprentices fill skill gaps to meet the needs of their employer.
“If they have something they’re not accomplishing at work, we can set them up with those tasks to complete their apprenticeship at our Institute. We bring them in and give them one on one training or I might take two or three in a class. We work really closely with the students and the employer to give them the best experience.”
Toi Ohomai has apprentices working in a variety of garages and Rebecca teaches a full range of automotive courses which encompass electrical engineering, light engineering, mechanical engineering and heavy automotive engineering.
“We’re always looking for more. It’s important we can get employers to give students that chance.
“We’re also keen to expose high school students to automotive in the STP programme so they can figure out if it’s what they want to do.”