Casey Chooses a Career in Cars

As an apprentice automotive technician at Giltrap Audi in Auckland, 21-year-old Casey Mead is completing a National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) with strand in Light Vehicle (Level 3 and 4) through MITO, and says working on flash cars, often worth over a hundred thousand dollars, is incredible. Casey is also a 2017 Got a Trade Hero.

“I love the diversity of the automotive industry,” says Casey, “and being able to work with my hands was a huge contributing factor as to why I was attracted to this industry in the first instance. Growing up, I liked to pull things apart to see if I could put them back together even better.”

When Casey left school she did what a lot of young people do and enrolled in university. “That’s just what I thought I was supposed to do. I think there is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that once you leave school, you go to university. I was never made aware that there are other career options in the trades.”

However, once Casey had completed her first semester, she knew something wasn’t right. “I quickly decided it was a hundred percent what I didn’t want to do and was then left wondering what my options were.” After a few odd jobs working in cafes, Casey started to think about what really interested her. “I realised that the enjoyment I get from working with cars was something I wanted to explore further and see if I could make a career out of it. So, I enrolled in an automotive pre-trade course, absolutely loved it and the rest is history!”

Casey’s next step wasn’t just to find a job in the automotive industry. She also saw the value of getting qualified through an apprenticeship. “I think it’s extremely important as it’s an internationally recognised qualification and on-the-job training makes perfect sense. You’re getting paid to study and you don’t have a massive student loan either which is an amazing feeling! A lot of my friends have gone to university and are now struggling to find jobs because they’ve spent three or four years studying but haven’t had any working experience.”

Richard Scott, Service Manager at Giltrap Audi, says “Casey approached me about an apprenticeship and her personality, attitude and willingness to learn showed me that she would be a really good employee. When I look for an apprentice, I look for a trainable person – someone who is looking to do well in a career, not just looking for any old job. Casey is the perfect example of someone who has got a great career ahead of her.”

Casey would love to see more young people in the industry and encourages those leaving school to explore all their options. “If the trades interest you, then consider gaining some work experience to find out if it’s something you like and want to pursue further. That work experience may turn into a job or even a career when you finish school. Being a female in a male-dominated industry isn’t an issue either. I went into it with no preconceived ideas on how it was going to be and everyone has been really welcoming.”

Richard offers similar advice. “Make sure you talk to people in the industry! You need to either get on the phone, or even better, go in and ask someone to show you around the business so you can get a feel for what it might be like to work there. And there are so many different facets to this industry – these days you’re not considered a mechanic anymore. With all the advancements in technology, as an automotive technician, you’re both a computer technician and a mechanical engineer. You can also progress into other roles within the industry too like service manager, or customer relations manager – there’s so many career pathways with a trade!”

Casey is flying the flag for careers in the automotive industry as a 2017 Got a Trade Hero in the Got a Trade? Got it Made! campaign. Got a Trade Week is 21-27 August - visit gotatrade.co.nz

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