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Tayla powers through her parts apprenticeship

Congratulations on completing your qualification so quickly. Was that your target from day one?

“I was trucking through it as much as I could, when I could. Then I went to a training session down in Palmerston North with all the parts people from around the country, and someone from the Christchurch branch told me that she finished early. So that set off something in my brain - I want to finish early too!”

Also, one of the workshop guys at Hawera started around the same time as me, and we were having a race to see who could get the most credits first.”

The qualification is NZ Certificate in Automotive Parts and Accessories Level 3. Had that always been an interest of yours?

“The automotive industry in general was something I wanted to get involved in, but I didn't have family or friends who were particularly into cars or anything like that.

My original plan was that I would do an automotive engineering pre-trade course at WITT (Western Institute of Technology).

So early in 2020 I left my job packing cheese at Fonterra, started the course, and obviously Covid hit, so that put a hold on things.

That was a tough time. I had a part-time job lined up but that fell through because of Covid, so I was trying to decide, do I stay and do the course that I wanted to be a whole career, or do I give it up and work at something else to pay the rent?

And it just so happened that there was a job listing at Norwood – I had a work broker at the time and he put me on to the parts apprentice job.”

Did you know anything about farming or farm machinery?

“When I applied I told them I don’t have a farming background, let alone a farming machinery background, but I’m keen to give it a go. They trusted me and gave me the job!

I was working in the dealership about a month before I started my apprenticeship. I wasn’t dealing with customers at the start, I was busy getting my bearings, but then they put me up front and from then on it was learning on the job. Getting thrown into it, that’s how I like to learn.”

Hawera is a rural centre, do you have more of an interest in that side of things now?

“Now that I’m in this job, I feel like I wasn’t really in touch with my community before. Because they’re obviously very heavily into the farming industry, which I never had any experience in before. So it has kind of awakened a passion that I didn’t know I had, which is cool.

I never would have pictured myself in this industry but now that I’m in it, I’m in it to win it!”

What do you like most about working at Norwood?

“I enjoy the Norwood network that I have, I like the sense of unity, how I can flick an email to pretty much anyone in the business and they will be willing to help me.

And just being around people who love what they’re doing. Everyone I have come across is incredibly passionate and I think that drives my passion as well.

The other thing I like about Norwood is how diverse it is. Obviously, there aren’t many females in this industry let alone Pacific Islanders, and happening to be both, it’s nice to see people like myself popping up all over the place.

The technology is cool too of course. Our product specialist Dan recently put a display in the showroom about GPS – tractors that can drive themselves around the paddock – stuff that I didn’t even think was possible.”

What are the challenges?

“If anything, it’s probably just knowledge, but I know that will come with time. As I say, you’re always learning on the job.

We’ve got a parts person here in Hawera who’s been at Norwood for around 40 years. That kind of knowledge is endless and something I try to feed off.”

Would you recommend the apprenticeship to others?

“In a heartbeat! I didn’t know that learning could be so much fun.

I’ve since started a First Line Management course through MITO. The sky’s the limit now - I am pretty much up for anything!”