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Auckland auto-technician’s decision to do EV programme at EIT | Te Pūkenga opens door for others

July 31, 2023

Brett Witheridge has recently completed the NZ Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering [Level 5] offered by to EIT | Te Pūkenga.

When Auckland auto-technician Brett Witheridge’s managers suggested he come down to EIT | Te Pūkenga to the NZ Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering [Level 5], he jumped at the chance.

It is a move that has opened the door for his colleagues to follow.

Brett, 35, has worked for Andrew Simms dealership in Auckland for ten years, mainly as a workshop foreman, diagnostic technician, and service advisor. However, when electric vehicles started to take off in New Zealand, he saw an opportunity for a change in direction.

“When Andrews Simms started selling electric vehicles, I wanted to jump back more into a diagnostic role specialising in electric and hybrid vehicles, they offered me a role of technical support specialist for the group, looking after brands like KIA, BYD and HAVAL GWM.”

Brett, who started his automotive engineering level 4 apprenticeship when he was 16, says the automotive industry is turning towards electric vehicles so the Level 5 EV qualification is the next step, but spaces at a local Auckland provider were full. His manager mentioned the NZ Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering [Level 5] offered by to EIT | Te Pūkenga. He did not hesitate. He has recently completed the programme.

“I said yes, because I wanted to have the opportunity for the EV level 5 qualification . I did not mind having to occasionally travel down to Hawke’s Bay for the training, Steve, Scotty and Brett were extremely knowledgeable and very friendly, and now six of our senior technicians at Andrew Simms will also be going through the programme starting July 27th.”

Despite some COVID-19 and Cyclone Gabrielle hurdles, the programme was relatively smooth sailing for Brett. The programme consisted of weekly online lectures, with two practical assessments in the Hawke’s Bay technology workshop. Working on electric vehicles as his day job meant that Brett was able to use them as his assignments for the programme.

“The assignments were very in depth and a lot of criteria had to be met, with already carrying out EV repairs in the workshop frequently,  I used faulting client’s vehicles for my energy systems and axillary systems assignment’s, I data logged all the data and captured photos of the diagnoses and repair process from start to finish to ensure the assignment criteria was met.”

He says that there is no doubt that electric vehicles are here to stay for the foreseeable future”.

“It is important to keep up with the technology. If you’re not on the forefront of diagnosing the latest technology in vehicles , you may get left behind as our industry is evolving so fast, I’m currently really enjoying my role as EV technician and this EV level 5 programme has made me confident and safe when carrying out electrical vehicle diagnosis and repairs.”

“I’d say I’m passionate about electric vehicles and the future of the motor industry. I’ve had an EV company car for almost a year so learning about the vehicle and charging has been very interesting, I’m excited to see what the future of the automotive industry holds.”

Scott Cunningham, the Programme Coordinator for Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering [Level 5] Level 5 at EIT | Te Pūkenga, says: “Brett has been an amazing Technician to see return to study to further his knowledge.”

“We have put in a large amount of time and resources into building our Level 5 Electric vehicle and hybrid programme, in conjunction with Otago polytechnic.”

“Having some great students like Brett attend our course with such enthusiasm for learning and embracing the new technology is great to see.  We encourage all technicians that are out in industry who are contemplating advancing their learning in this area to give it a go.”

“I am incredibly proud of Brett’s achievements, not only through EITs Level 5 programme, but in his career in general. And how Andrew Simms motor group are supporting his passion for the Automotive industry and embracing new and emerging technology. “