Ryan’s ca­reer path truck­ing along

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By TERESA HAT­TAN

Soon af­ter fin­ish­ing a trade qual­i­fi­ca­tion, Ryan Aiken snapped up a diesel me­chanic ap­pren­tice­ship.

In fact, the 16-year-old Waikato Trades Academy grad­u­ate was of­fered two, but chose to stay in his home town of Mata­mata.

In what he says was a sur­prise, Aiken was last year named as the top sec­ond- year stu­dent in au­to­mo­tive at the Waikato Trades Academy.

A job in trades had ap­pealed, Aiken said.

‘‘Be­fore I went to trades [Waikato Trade Academy] I thought I wanted to be an en­gi­neer so I thought ‘oh yup, that’s me’. But with that course you do ev­ery­thing, so I tried it out and found en­gi­neer­ing wasn’t for me, I didn’t like it at all. I de­cided to do au­to­mo­tive and re­ally en­joyed that.’’

Hav­ing worked on trucks grow­ing up thanks to his par­ents’ busi­ness, Aiken Trans­port, the heav­ier side of au­to­mo­tive ‘‘tick­led his fancy’’ more. He be­lieves cars are too clean and ‘‘you don’t re­ally fix much on cars th­ese days’’. ‘‘Trucks are more hands-on and it’s big­ger too so it’s more in­ter­est­ing.’’

He said be­ing in­volved in the trades academy was great, as the tu­tors were from the in­dus­try. ‘‘They spe­cialised in those ar­eas, they weren’t just a teacher that had been taught about au­to­mo­tive, they’d ac­tu­ally been out do­ing it.’’

Aiken proved

him­self

al­ways

to

his now-em­ployer J Swap Con­trac­tors through part- time work while study­ing.

‘‘ They sort of knew me and knew I was a good worker. I just went and asked them ‘ Do you have an ap­pren­tice­ship for me?’’’ Aiken said.

But his first in­ter­ac­tions with the com­pany came about when Aiken was in year 10 at Mata­mata Col­lege. He went and asked An­drew Swap if he could do some work ex­pe­ri­ence for a day. He did that and re­ally liked it so he asked if there was a hol­i­day job avail­able. This soon turned into week­ends and now an ap­pren­tice­ship. He said it’s go­ing well so far.

Aiken said it was great to have the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the trades academy and the col­lege, as he had a full school timetable as well as un­der­tak­ing his cer­tifi­cate through Win­tec.

He fin­ished year 12 last year and de­cided not to re­turn for year 13. He al­ready knew what he wanted to do, so thought he’d just get ‘‘stuck in’’.

He fin­ished his Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate in Mo­tor In­dus­tries late last year and started work­ing full­time for J Swap in De­cem­ber.

Know­ing Aiken’s work ethic and skill lev­els meant he was a ‘‘good choice’’ for direc­tor An­drew Swap. ‘‘He ba­si­cally put his head down and got on with it.’’

It nor­mally took about a year to work out how an ap­pren­tice would go in the job, Swap said, but he’d al­ready seen Aiken in a part- time work ca­pac­ity for two years.

He was an ‘‘ all- round good young kid’’, the kind of per­son who was hard to find.

Aiken’s cur­rent goals are to get started on his ap­pren­tice­ship pa­pers. A few boxes will have al­ready been ticked, as he can cross-credit a lot of his trades academy work which could re­duce the time it takes him to com­plete his ap­pren­tice­ship.

He of­fi­cially grad­u­ates from the Waikato Trades Academy in March.

Photo: MARK TAY­LOR/FAIR­FAX NZ

NEW TRADE: Ryan Aiken, 16, got a diesel me­chanic ap­pren­tice­ship off the back of a Waikato Trades Academy pro­gramme.

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