Keith to take charge on HEV training and Plugged-in column

MTA Institute trainer Keith Minchin has a passion for electronic technology and a wealth of training experience making him the perfect person to lead the MTA Institute’s hybrid and electric vehicle education.

Keith is replacing Paul Tugwell (who has retired) as the lead trainer for the MTA Institute Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) course and as the technical writer for Motor Trader’s Plugged In column. We are delighted to introduce Keith to our HEV enthusiast readers.

Originally from Melbourne, Keith couldn’t wait to enter the automotive industry, wanting to leave school from as early as 15 years old to work in a workshop. After being taken on as an apprentice, Keith studied electronic engineering at night and was fascinated by the field.

After working in numerous service manager and technician roles with manufacturers, he moved to Brisbane to work for FIAT. This move would lead Keith down a path that would take him overseas to work with Ferrari among other brands, skilling up on the latest automotive technology and electronics.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision of mine to work on one brand over another,” said Keith. “I’m not interested in particular brands of cars, but rather the technology underpinning them. The mechanics, the electronics and everything in between.”

Keith eventually looked for a career change where a passion for teaching and explaining the intricacies of electronics and motors led him to start with MTA Institute in 2012. With qualifications including Light Vehicle Mechanic, Automotive Electrician and Automotive Underbody Technician, along with accreditations in Automotive Air-Conditioning and HEV, Keith has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position and for the last seven years has been guiding students through their apprenticeships in western Brisbane and surrounding areas.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

With HEVs gaining in popularity, and with more and more manufacturers announcing their decision to stop producing vehicles with combustion engines in the coming years, Keith has no doubt that HEV training will only become more crucial.

“In our current industry, HEVs represent a very small percentage of the market, so there’s not a lot of opportunity for the average technician to immerse themselves in the technology. But that’s going to change, and it’s going to change soon,” he said.

“HEVs present a number of unique challenges and their own dangers. They run on high voltage and there’s certainly a workplace health and safety aspect to working on these vehicles. Additionally, and quite simply, it’s new technology and to remain relevant in this industry, automotive professionals need to up-skill and ensure they remain on top of new advancements.

“I absolutely think that it’s crucial for automotive technicians to educate themselves on HEV technology in a safe environment.

“The MTA Institute is the leader in automotive training, and as the HEV trainer it’s my responsibility to guide technicians through this new technology. With my extensive interest in electronics and my passion for training, it’s something that I am really excited about.

“HEV technology is something that will continue to evolve, advance and improve. My advice is for technicians to get on board now and the best way to do that is by completing the MTA Institute accredited Hybrid Electric Vehicle Inspection and Servicing Skill Set, with the next course on 5-7 February 2020.”

Plugged In will continue with its technical HEV advice in 2020.

Source: Motor Trader E-Magazine (Dec 2019/Jan 2020)

18 Dec 2019