Automotive practice helps education

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‘‘QUITE A FEAT’’: Dale Burgess, 17, took 12 months to complete both year 12 and 13 automotive studies.
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Ashburton teen Dale Burgess enjoys tinkering in the workshop.

It is something that has stood him good stead this academic year.

The 17-year-old took just 12 months to complete both year 12 and 13 automotive studies at Ashburton College.

Now he has secured a heavy diesel apprenticeship at Claas Harvest Centre, in Ashburton, which he will begin next year.

Dale said it had helped being able to spend time in the workshop of the family business, Burgess Combine Repairs.

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE: Dale Burgess got through automotive course work quickly because practical work at the family business also helped with online work.

During the course of the year, students worked on getting a beach buggy-type vehicle up and running.

They did.

‘‘It was a home-made thing with an Isuzu motor in it,’’ Dale said.

‘‘There was also online work from MITO ( motor industry training organisation) to complete.’’

Dale really enjoyed it.

‘‘It was really interesting learning about different components, especially year 13. The year 13 course for MITO is quite detailed. It was a bit more in-depth.’’

Dale has an interest in being a diesel mechanic and working with agricultural machinery.

He got through the work quickly because his dedication to the practical work helped with the online work.

It’s a career path he was destined to fill, having shown interest in the family business from a young age.

When he was five, he had his own named overalls and helped out in the workshop.

HELPING OUT: Dale Burgess (aged five) stacks ball bearings in a final drive.

He said he didn’t really know what he wanted to do then, but he does now.

He’s looking forward to starting his new role.

‘‘Machines are really interesting. You get a wide variety of work over there and I enjoy working with a lot of the boys,’’ he said.

He will come out of the four year heavy diesel apprenticeship qualified, with no student debt and money in his pocket.

Until then he is helping his dad, Robin, also a diesel mechanic, in his workshop.

He will also be fine-tuning another school project inspired by internet creations; a motorised chilly bin for golf.

He designed and created it in metalwork.

The petrol-fuelled design has a five horsepower motor.

All up so far it has cost about $400.

It was a welding project using an angle iron frame attached to a repurposed ride on lawn mower.

The 50-by-50 angle iron frame has been welded together and fitted to the lawnmower chassis. The 51-litre chilly bin is the seat.

The golf club bag sits nicely on the back.

Dale doesn’t play much golf, yet. He goes two or three times a year.

It’s been a year-long design and build process.

It works and he is hoping to have it finished by Christmas.

GOLF CART: Dale Burgess with his motorised chilly bin for golf.

Ashburton College teacher in charge of automotive and trades Patrick Neal said Dale was among the students this year who earned 22 level 2 or level 3 NCEA credits, and earned MITO Start up and Accelerate Automotive certificates.

The motor trade qualifications cover a variety of theory and practical work.

Dale managed to pass both years’ courses in just one year, Neal said.

‘‘This was quite a feat, and he managed this by working weekends servicing farming equipment in his father’s workshop.’’

During the course students perform several services, tyre changes and a variety of vehicle checks on classroom vehicles, as well as working through several theory-based packages.

They included the operation of four-stroke and diesel engines, working with chemicals, health and safety, braking systems and photographing vehicle damage.