Ryan’s career path trucking along
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.’’
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.
NEW TRADE: Ryan Aiken, 16, got a diesel mechanic apprenticeship off the back of a Waikato Trades Academy programme.