The Auto Initiation program, the MTA Queensland’s (MTAQ) pre-vocational automotive course, has been launched into the Queensland regions with courses now being run on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

The nine-week course, delivered under the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, is aimed at a diverse range of groups – from disadvantaged, mature-age and young job seekers; people with a disability; and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community amongst others – and is designed so participants will earn a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Placement and gain both the basic skills and knowledge required to work in the automotive industry, as well as training in the ‘life skills’ that will give them the confidence to be ‘job-ready’.

The program includes a five-week practical training element, a two-week ‘life skills’ training component and two weeks of work experience placement.

To enable the Auto Initiation program to be delivered to regional areas, the MTAQ has invested in a Mobile Automotive Training Unit – a Mercedes Sprinter truck fully stocked with the equipment and educational material required to train the students.

The Mobile Automotive Training Unit will be used through the year to deliver the Auto Initiation program to regional areas – including Townsville, Mt Isa, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg – enabling more than 200 students to start on a pathway to a career in the automotive industry.

“We have fixed facilities in Brisbane but the Auto Initiation program is running state wide and we don’t have facilities state wide,” said Marcello Riotto, Operations Manager for the MTA Institute. “We can easily find classrooms and space but the mobile training unit allows us to essentially take a workshop with us.”

And the training unit has been put to good use in its first outing on the Sunshine Coast, with more than 20 students using it as they work towards their qualification.

“Every one of the participants has been terrific,” said MTAI trainer Darryl Shiels. “They’ve taken on the workshop activities well, they’ve all got involved and they are a great crew. And the Mobile Training Unit is a tremendous tool – we’ve used just about everything on board.

“The Auto Initiation program is a great program,” he added. “The students are learning the fundamentals so when they walk into a workshop the employer won’t have to show them how to put a vehicle on the hoist, how to jack up a vehicle correctly, how to use specific tools or how to carry out service operations.

“The course gives the students all the skills they will need to to land an apprenticeship.”

For Zen Collins, a 27-year-old student from the Sunshine Coast, the Auto Initiation program has proven to be an enjoyable learning experience.

“I’m passionate about cars and we’ve studied service procedures, tool use and mechanical system fundamentals. We’ve also learnt life skills such as how to conduct ourselves in an interview.  It has been fantastic.”

For 26-year-old Brian Gillies, also from the Sunshine Coast, the program has been equally informative, and though wheelchair-bound from Spina Bifida he has tackled the program without a problem.

“I’ve always been able to improvise in any environment I’ve been in so, for something like this, it’s actually quite easy for me,” he said. “The trainers have been great. They’ve been very open-minded and willing to learn from me, and we easily bounce ideas off each other.

“The course has been amazing,” he added. “It’s opened my eyes to a lot of elements about vehicles. Eventually, I’d like to move on to work on motorbikes. I’ve been around them a lot of my life and they are easier for me to work on.

“I’d absolutely recommend this course – it’s fun and enjoyable, and there’s a wealth of information being taught.”


For more information about the Auto Initiation program, contact Marcello at [email protected] or 07 3722 3000. 

This Skilling Queenslanders for Work project is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government.