Automotive upgrade is in line with South Canterbury demand

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08 Jun 2016

The automotive department is humming at Ara Institute of Canterbury's Timaru campus with upgraded facilities and equipment to cater to a new programme and additional students.


Automotive students Harrison Boulton and Olivia Hefford try out upgraded facilities in Timaru.

City Campus, Christchurch automotive programme leader Peter Sauer has been a weekly visitor to the Timaru campus since his employer, CPIT, merged with South Canterbury vocational training provider Aoraki Polytechnic at the start of the year. Sauer's experience in both industry and educational delivery made him the right person to review the facilities and help to introduce the new programme.

"It's definitely a better experience for students and staff now. The facilities have been refreshed and repainted and are more in line with the real world of automotive workshops that our students will go into when they graduate and get jobs," he said.

"We upgraded M Block from a storeroom and collision repair room to an industry-standard automotive workshop. We stripped and revamped the toolboards and added new tools. We've introduced rolling tool cabinets, which are commonly used in the industry."

The new programme is the Certificate in Motor Industry (Entry Skills) (Automotive), which has taken off down south with two occurrences of 36 students each both filled to capacity. Ara has also introduced co-enrolments to support Youth Guarantee placements for 15-19 year olds who want to leave secondary school and get started on their career in the automotive world.

Students who want to remain at secondary school can also get a taste of automotive trades training by attending Ara one day a week through the Canterbury Secondary College programme.

Prospects after completion are good with qualifications in heavy machinery supporting the agricultural sector, and a range of National Certificates leading to apprenticeships in automotive light and automotive electrical and mechanical heavy vehicle including agriculture. Ara will also provide an opportunity for common rail diesel training on new vehicles for 2017.

There are more developments in the pipeline. "We're looking at traineeships for 2017, which is work-based learning. Automotive is well established in South Canterbury and it's very rewarding to give it a boost and see the workshops buzzing," Sauer said.

The upgrades are part of work happening across various programmes at Ara to upgrade facilities at the Institute's South Canterbury campuses.Find out more about Automotive at Ara.