Automotive engineering student Carl Pritchard couldn’t be happier learning about the motor industry at EIT Hawke’s Bay’s newly-opened Trades and Technology Training Centre.
The 19-year-old from Hastings was in the first cohort to start a course in the $8.5-million complex and he reckons a student couldn’t ask for anything more.
“There’s heaps of room and plenty of equipment for doing everything. I couldn’t believe there were eight lathes in the machining room.”
While Carl’s group of 16 students is generally based in the centre’s automotive workshop, they also move around the complex to work on different tasks. Formal classrooms flank the open-plan workshop area, and there’s also a breakout classroom located in the automotive workshop.
“We use pretty much everything except for the panelbeating workshop,” Carl enthuses.
He and fellow students have recently been making tool boxes in the sheet metal shop, learning how to weld in an area that provides 18 work stations.
“It’s quite cool how our projects can be stowed in what looks like fruit bins that are raised off the floor and stored suspended.”
Carl grew up imagining he’d follow his father into the building industry. However, the global recession triggered a rethink, and he took the opportunity as a Karamu High School student to do a Gateway course that offered him work experience and then, as a bonus, a summer holiday job at Bay Ford in Hastings.
The company’s manager urged him to do EIT’s 34-week full-time Certificate in Automotive Engineering which he was told would give him a better shot at getting an apprenticeship.
“So here I am,” Carl laughs. “I loved the programme straight away and working here in the new trades and technology building is amazing.”