Think you can’t land a great job straight out of your studies? Find out how Jason Pou’s positive attitude, work experience and enthusiasm helped him score an apprenticeship at luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz shortly after finishing his course.

Jason Pou admits to feeling a bit out of his depth when he went for an interview with Mercedes-Benz a few months ago.

The 26-year-old West Aucklander had only recently graduated from autotronics at Unitec and had spent no time in a proper automotive workshop.

“When I found out about the Mercedes job, I thought I’d give it a shot. But I imagined they’d only hire well-experienced people,” Jason says.

However, Jason had been in touch with automotive industry training organisation MITO – one of MPTT’s partners. Seeing that Jason presented well and had a great attitude, MITO put in a recommendation for him with Mercedes.Having initially thought his chances of getting the job were slim, Jason jumped at the chance to meet his potential employer for an interview.

“They took me around the workshop and there were cars I’d never seen before. So flash – it was crazy. There were cars selling for well over $100,000. It was a bit overwhelming.”

Despite his lack of workshop experience, Jason had plenty of work-readiness skills to show from his nine years in retail at Supercheap Auto.

Being able to show he was a reliable worker with a get-up-and-go attitude clearly shone through and he landed the job – much to his surprise.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all! I’m starting in January and can’t wait.”

Opening doors

MITO’s acting regional manager Mark Lawrence says the training organisation had previously interviewed Jason and was happy to recommend him when the role at Mercedes came up.

“He was work ready and knew what he wanted to do. We were happy with the way he interviewed and his motivation and passion for the trade. Plus he was already working, which showed his good work ethic.”

The role at Mercedes is a fantastic and sought-after opportunity that Jason has managed to secure, says Mark.

“Every mechanic dreams of working on nice cars. Working for a company like Mercedes-Benz is prestigious and it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come up very often. Jason’s achievement is the outcome we’re always looking for.”

Jason’s story is proof that employers in the trades sector place value on candidates having a positive attitude and willingness to learn. They also look for employment experience, even if it’s from a different sector – like in Jason’s case.

Why not get paid for it?

Despite working his way up to an assistant manager position at Supercheap Auto, Jason finally made the decision to pursue an automotive career last year.

“I’ve been fixing my cars at home since I’ve had a car and I thought, ‘Why not get paid for it? I pretty much do that anyway.’

“If I want to get a bit of money and go somewhere in 10 years time, I want a better paying job than I could have gotten without a qualification. I’ve already got a good base knowledge of how to fix cars so that made me go and learn it as a trade.”

Shifting out of neutral

Jason’s only regret is waiting so long to get a formal qualification.

“I was thinking about studying for years but it was hard to leave my job. I’d applied for an automotive course after high school but it was too full.

I got a full-time job and I kept thinking about applying to study,but then I’d get a promotion at work. Now I wish I gone to study and get a trade earlier.”

After eventually making the decision to get a trade qualification, Jason successfully completed a 12-month Certificate in Autotronics at Unitec.

Being of Ngapuhi descent, he was eligible for a full-fees scholarship from Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Auckland, plus ongoing coaching from one of our Navigators.

“Getting the scholarship was great because it meant I didn’t have to pay for my fees. Now I don’t have much of a student loan to pay, so that’s a big help.”

Through his job at Mercedes, Jason will now be working towards MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering – Light Vehicle. He will also benefit from support from an advisor at MITO, to help him complete his qualification.

 

Jason Pou receiving scholarship
Jason Pou receiving MITO scholarship from Brian Messer and Mark Lawrence at Unitec Awards Evening, 13 November 2017

 

Avoiding the shortcuts

Jason will be working for Mercedes as an apprentice mechanic and he’s excited about his future.

“I definitely wanted to do an apprenticeship. It will probably take me about three years to complete but it means I’ll be fully qualified so I can work around the world one day if I want to.”

And in case you’re wondering what kind of car Jason drives, it’s a deceptively-quick Mazdaspeed Axela turbo.

“I like being out in it because, when people pull up beside me, they think it’s a nana car. But it’s a 2.3 litre turbo so it’s way faster than they realise!”

Are you interested in a career as a mechanic or automotive technician? Find out more about how to train, where to train, and how to find an apprenticeship.

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