Annual Conference brings MTAI Trainers Together From Across Queensland

The MTA Institute is the largest private provider of automotive apprenticeships in Queensland, delivering face-to-face, on-site training to more than 1700 students across the state.

The organisation is able to accomplish this by employing 29 highly experienced trainers, each based in areas that allow for delivery of the Institute’s world-class programs to any location in Queensland.

Covering such a huge geographic area means that most of the Institute’s trainers work autonomously, linking into head office remotely via industry-leading software and hardware solutions. However, at the end of each year, the Institute brings the trainers together at its Brisbane base for the annual trainers’ conference.

A two-day event packed with workshops and group training sessions, the conference is aimed at bringing the group together to discuss the developments and advances in the training sector, compare experiences of the past year and look ahead to 2020.

Covered at the 2019 conference were validation and moderation of assessment tools; technical and professional development; the updating of trainers’ equipment to new hardware, including the latest iPads and smartphones that are used to communicate with and teach students via the My Profile online training platform; and information technology advancements and the efficiencies such technology brings to training. All of which is targeted at continuing the MTA Institute’s position as the leading provider of innovative, exceptional, automotive training.

“It’s always good to bring the training team together to look at what we’ve achieved over the year and look at what we’ll be focusing on over the next 12 months,” said Paul Kulpa, General Manager MTA Institute. “This year’s meeting gave us an opportunity to develop and refine our processes further. It also provided feedback and actions on ways we can improve our engagement with all stakeholders and ensure we continue to meet our quality agenda.
“We ticked a lot of boxes throughout 2019, including increasing our apprentice numbers, upgrading our trainer VET and Trade qualifications, hitting our compliance RTO (Registered Training Organisation) standards, maintaining our top position in the market for automotive training and keeping our high level of staff professionalism.

“It was a very good year, but we always strive to improve where we can, and our focus and hard work will not change in 2020.”


A highlight of each year’s conference is the announcement of the Trainer of the Year award recipient. The accolade for 2019 was presented to Light Vehicle and Parts Interpreting trainer Derrick Pratt.

A highly experienced trainer and mechanic, Derrick has spent more than 30 years in the industry with the past 23 of those years in apprenticeship training. He joined the MTA Institute in 2016, taking on the training responsibilities for apprentices in the south Brisbane region.

It was, said Derrick, a very special moment to receive the award.

“To be named as Trainer of the Year is a great honour,” said Derrick. “I have a passion for training, I thoroughly enjoy my job, and I look forward to going out every day to do what I love doing.

“I have been in the industry a long time and as far back as I can remember I have enjoyed showing and teaching apprentices how to diagnose and repair vehicles. The satisfaction I get from seeing them excel later in life is priceless.”

Having worked in the training sector for many years, Derrick said that the delivery method offered by MTA Institute was one that was particularly effective.

“The employers appreciate the one-on-one training that is delivered and feel that the students are of a higher standard. And the students prefer that type of training too as they can ask me questions directly and I am able to use as many mediums as needed to ensure they fully understand what is being taught and what they need to learn. The employer, the apprentice, me – we are all on the same page and all have the same goal. We want the apprentice to be the best they can be.”

Starting in the industry in 1988 as a diesel mechanic, Derrick went on to train as a light vehicle mechanic and then became a workshop manager before moving into the training sector. His wide range of experience means he watched the evolution of the industry with great interest and having seen that evolution pick up speed in just the last few years, Derrick had some sage advice for apprentices and those looking to enter the auto industry.

“The industry is changing quickly and there is much to learn. And that is exciting and challenging,” he said. “I would encourage all current and future students to embrace and understand electrical systems – this is already an important part of what we do and will be even more so as the industry is actively involved in improving vehicle emissions. This is an industry that is always changing and is always interesting. It’s a great industry to be a part of.”

Of course, all the MTA Institute trainers work hard to deliver top quality training and, according to Paul Kulpa, choosing one to be named as trainer of the year is always a terrifically difficult decision.

“It is always hard because all the trainers put in a big effort over the year,” said Paul. “However, the feedback from students and employers was exceptional regarding the quality Derrick’s training delivery. He has well established systems in place, follows procedures correctly, and actively participates in professional development. His administration work is excellent, as is the customer service he provides.

“He’s always on the lookout for business development leads too, has an excellent understanding of our operations and is able to execute work directions with minimal direction. He assists other areas of the Association too, even providing story leads to our communications team that help to promote the Institute. His commitment to the business, to training students and helping employers is absolutely second to none.”

Source: Motor Trader E-Magazine (Feb 2020)

10 Feb 2020