Jason Whitley has always enjoyed tinkering with cars and farm vehicles and when the opportunity came up to undertake a mature age apprenticeship in the automotive field, Jason seized the chance.
Having spent all his former life on the land Jason, 43, signed up as an apprentice with Monto Auto Towing in March 2013 and qualified as a light vehicle auto mechanic in November 2014.
A few months into his apprenticeship Jason’s boss wanted to sell the business so Jason and his mother Norma took up the challenge and decided to purchase the business.
“Initially we both had little knowledge of apprenticeships and what was required. There was also a shortage of qualified mechanics in the area but with the help and support of the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program we were able to make it through,” Norma Whitley explained.
“In order for Jason to finish his apprenticeship he needed to complete his training under a qualified mechanic. The program also helped us fast track another local person, Mark Osborne through his apprenticeship.”
“Through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program Mark was able to quickly obtain his automotive trade qualification through Central Queensland University, which in turn allowed Jason to complete his apprenticeship,” Norma added.
Jason said the future was now looking good for the business and he believed the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program had played an important role in ensuring the success of the business.
“Coming from the land and being self-employed I was used to always doing quality work so it was very important to apply the same work principles to our automotive business. Through the program I was able to gain a lot more knowledge in automotive computer systems ensuring I could gain my RACQ accreditation,” Jason said.
Launched in February 2012, QGC partnered with BUSY At Work to match apprentices and trainees with businesses outside the coal seam gas industry in regional Queensland. The program provides support, mentoring and coaching to help boost retention and completion rates.
Paul Miles, CEO BUSY At Work said it was pleasing to see local employers take advantage of the programs we have in place to assist their business.
“With the right training and support from the QGC Strengthening Local Workforce Program we have helped create a positive outcome for the Monto Region,” Mr Miles said.