The MTA Institute held its first graduation ceremony of 2019 in February, marking the start of the trade careers of 10 apprentices who recently completed their training.

And while the threat of Cyclone Oma hovered over the occasion and not all the newly graduated tradespeople made the trip to the MTA Queensland head office at Eight Mile Plains in Brisbane, those that did make it came with families and friends to witness the occasion.

Presenting the graduates with their certificates was Paul Kulpa, General Manager of the MTA Institute, who addressed the attendees and delivered a message of congratulations and encouragement to keep learning, keep evolving with the industry and take full advantage of the qualification, and opportunity, the graduates had worked so hard to attain.

“It has taken you four years to complete your apprenticeship and when you reflect on that, reflect on how much the world has changed in that time and, in particular, on the technology,” said Mr Kulpa.

“Change is unstoppable,” he added. “There will by many opportunities over the coming years, but you’ll have to continue to learn and that is part of the challenge moving forward – keep learning, keep evolving and keep asking questions.”

Pointing out that the majority of auto apprentices fail to make it across the finish line to become a tradesperson, Mr Kulpa said the graduates had already achieved a great deal.

“There are about 5,500 auto apprentices across all disciplines in Queensland,” he said. “Statistically speaking, we lose about quarter from that group every year and only about 1 in 4 people finish their apprenticeship.

“Take that stat and look at what you have achieved and recognise that what you have done is a truly excellent result. Well done.”

On hand for some extra inspiration for the new tradespeople was Elliott Lemmon, the MTA Institute Apprentice of the Year for 2017 and a graduate himself last year. In a Q&A session with Mr Kulpa, Elliott ran through his own apprenticeship journey, some of the hurdles and challenges that new tradespeople face, and offered some sage words of advice.

“Keep learning, stay humble, ask questions, don’t worry about any of the drama, and keep working through it!” he said.

While most of the graduate attendees had come from the south-east corner of the state, Gary Armstrong had taken a somewhat longer road.

The 30-year-old mobile plant technology graduate, along with partner Bianca Magill and daughter Kayla, had travelled more than six hours from near Mungindi where Gary works for the Wyadrigah Pastoral company.

Originally from Belfast in Ireland, and a newly minted Australian citizen, Gary had been working in the heavy machinery and agricultural machinery sectors for some years before getting the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship. He was, he said, grateful that the MTA Institute had enabled him to complete an apprenticeship under the guidance of his trainer Jeff Mann.

“I am really thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “Jeff, my trainer, was great at explaining everything, was always available on the phone, and he would drive all the way down there to spend the time with me. I’d highly recommend the Institute to anyone thinking of doing an automotive apprenticeship.”

Wrapping up the evening’s festivities, Mr Kulpa said that the graduates should grasp the opportunities that the industry offered and look forward to a long and successful working life in the career they had worked so hard to enter.

“I wish each of you good luck in your careers,” he said. “And I remind you that you have earned your qualification and your place in the industry. Congratulations!”

Source: Motor Trader E-Magazine (Mar 2019 Edition)

11 Mar 2019