Automotive student recognised for her drive

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Kira Vanderkley is on her way to realising her dream of opening her own workshop after being recognised as one of the Territory’s top apprentices.

The Taminmin College student was one of the winners at the TIO Apprentice of the Year awards earlier this month, taking home the VET Automotive Student of the Year Award.

“I can’t even being to tell you how good it feels, I've made myself proud and I know I've made my parents, friends and family proud as well,” Kira said.

“It’s a great achievement and I wouldn't be where I am today with the knowledge and mechanical skills I have now if it wasn't for my auto teacher Brendan.”

Despite thinking she’d never make it this far, Kira knew she was interested in cars from an early age, holding a torch to help her dad work on engines.

Kira spent a year and a half completing a Certificate I and II in automotive servicing as part of her studies at Taminmin College.

“I decided to choose the course because I thought it would be fun and interesting and I was right - I enjoyed it from start to finish.”

The recent Year 12 graduate said it was difficult to narrow down the highlights of her training, with a new or interesting skill to learn every day.

“A valuable lesson would have to be general knowledge about a car such as checking the oil level, changing a tyre, knowing how to service your car,” she said.

“One important lesson we learnt during the course is to make sure that there is oil in the car’s engine. Common sense, but it can be forgotten when you’re doing other work on the vehicle.”

Kira is looking forward to more work in the male-dominated industry, crediting her placements at Komatsu and Hastings Deering with putting her in good stead for an apprenticeship when applications open in July this year.

The teenager said anyone who’s interested in automotive studies should take the chance to learn more as part of the hands on course.

“It’s a very useful trade to have as everyone these days owns a car,” she said.

“The best advice I could give is believe in yourself, don't give up on a dream you have for whatever reason.

“At the end of the day you’re the one that will make the dream come true or not, depending on how hard you’re willing to work and push for it to come true.”​​

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