Scholarship Recipient Loving Learning a Trade

“Right from a young age I’ve had an interest in how cars are built and their structural frames,” says 18-year-old apprentice collision repair technician, Leon Jordan. “After I left school, I knew I wanted to explore that interest further. So, when I saw a role advertised for a car groomer at Auckland Panel & Paint, with the opportunity to work my way up and learn more about the collision repair industry, I jumped at the chance!”

The online training is so good,” says Leon. “I don’t have to write anything in books – it’s all there for you to complete entirely online which is really convenient. The training resources are straightforward too and are easy to follow and access. I can even get them on my phone!

While working in the groom bay, Leon, who is half-Samoan on his father’s side, saw another opportunity and applied for a 2017 MITO Kick Start Pasifika scholarship which contributes $1,000 towards the first year of study for any MITO apprenticeship or traineeship programme at Level 4 or above. Finding out he was a successful recipient came as a complete shock.

“I was at work when I got a call from MITO Chief Executive, Janet Lane, with the great news,” says Leon. “I knew the calibre of applicants would be extremely high, so I was thrilled to be one of the lucky ones to receive a scholarship.” Of course luck had little to do with it, with Leon’s willingness to learn and a strong desire to further his career with an apprenticeship both contributing factors to his scholarship success. 

Leon Jordan

2017 MITO Kick Start Pasifika scholarship recipient, Leon Jordan with Auckland Panel & Paint Branch Manager, Bianca Swart

Leon is now enrolled in MITO’s new training programme for the New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair (Non-Structural Repair) (Level 3 and 4). The training programme incorporates eLearning, allowing apprentices to complete theory elements of their programme in their own time and at their own pace. It’s an exciting development that meets the growing demand for an accessible approach to training in the industry.Branch Manager, Bianca Swart, was thrilled for him too, having seen Leon’s potential from early on. “We’re extremely happy for him that he received this scholarship. It’s a great achievement which gives him a kick start in his apprenticeship. Here at Auckland Panel & Paint, we take anyone interested in learning more about the industry very seriously and endeavour to help them as much as we can. Leon knew very little about cars when he first started in the groom bay but over the past year has shown great initiative, dedication and has worked hard. So we were very pleased when he came to us about further opportunities for him to progress his career and were more than happy to offer him an apprenticeship.”

“The online training is so good,” says Leon. “I don’t have to write anything in books – it’s all there for you to complete entirely online which is really convenient. The training resources are straightforward too and are easy to follow and access. I can even get them on my phone!”

Together with eLearning, the programme also includes workplace learning – something Leon relishes. “I really enjoy being an on-the-job learner,” he says. “I learn so much from the qualified technicians in the shop - watching how they work and learning from their experience. I’ve begun to crave their knowledge,” he laughs. “There’s just so much to learn and it’s all so interesting. Getting paid while gaining a qualification is amazing too. I don’t have to pay back a massive loan – I’m learning, working and getting paid at the same time which is a huge bonus. I’m loving it - having a trade is awesome!”

With a big future ahead of him, getting qualified is only the first step on the ladder for Leon. “There are so many opportunities for young people like myself in the industry. There’s a great career path and once I’m qualified I can work my way up to supervisor, manager and then even open my own shop one day.”

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