VETDSS Automotive Students Visit Industry

27 Oct 2023

Students undertaking automotive studies as part of the VET Delivered to Secondary Students (VETDSS) program at SuniTAFE participated in a series of industry visits last month.

In a day-long excursion, the students visited Haeusler’s Mildura, Quick-Fix Harley-Davidson, and Mildura Motor Holdings to speak with representatives from each business.

SuniTAFE Automotive Teachers Rod Sparrow and Jason Milner planned this learning experience for their students to give them a broad overview of where this industry can take them.

“We organised a visit to three different employers within the automotive industry,” Rod said.
“We went to an agricultural business, a motorbike dealership and workshop, and then a business that predominantly works with light or road vehicles.”

Each business provided unique information for students, depending on which area of the automotive industry that they’re interested in.

Haeusler’s showed the students what is involved in a mechanical career in an agricultural setting.

“They spoke to the students about a lot of things, including a heavy emphasis on their self-driving tractors and automation. Some of the students got to go for a drive. The technicians set a map and then the vehicle would drive that line via GPS,” Rod said.  

“I think this was a real eye opener because typically people don’t often get excited over tractors. They’re seen as muddy and dirty, but with new technology that space is really moving forward and it’s exciting. It was definitely an eye opener for the students and for us teachers as well.”

The students got to learn about motorcycle mechanics as a career path at Quick-Fix Harley-Davidson.

“This visit was really interesting because they talked a lot about the history of Harley-Davidson, and also where they are going. We toured the workshop and the showroom, and they also talked about what they look for when a candidate comes to them looking for an apprenticeship,” Jason said.

Finally, a visit to Mildura Motor Holdings allowed students to gain information on working within a car dealership and mechanic workshop.

“This was a good place to go because it’s the newest car dealership premises in the area. They have been around a really long time but the facility is new,” Rod said.

“They gave a good overview of the differences between franchises. So, for example, Kia is very different to Mitsubishi, which is very different to GM. We toured through the pre-delivery centre, then through the workshop. We spoke to the HR Manager about apprenticeships.”  

Rod and Jason see this as an invaluable experience for VETDSS automotive students. It helps them to understand their available career paths in the industry.

“We wanted to show the students what the real world is about and where they’re going if they want to follow this career path,” Jason said.

“SuniTAFE can only do so much because we’re a simulated work environment, but this kind of excursion shows them what it is really like in the workplace,” Rod said.

Rod and Jason hope to offer a similar day out for their VETDSS students each year.

SuniTAFE thanks Haeusler’s, Quick-Fix Harley-Davidson, and Mildura Motor Holdings for welcoming the students into their workplaces and giving them valuable insights.

Read more about SuniTAFE’s VETDSS program here.

Interested in completing an automotive apprenticeship? Click here to see the courses on offer.