That’s How We Roll – Nissan Apprentices at the Gold Coast 600
With opportunities like working with the Nissan Motor Sport team at the V8 Supercar Races, it is no wonder that the Nissan Mentored Apprenticeship Program (NissMAP) is one of Australia’s most successful automotive apprenticeship programs.
Two of Nissan’s most dedicated apprentices were rewarded for their hard work recently. Sirocco McHenry, an apprentice at Moorooka Nissan, and Marcus Page, an apprentice at Ian Boettcher Nissan, both spent a weekend at the V8 Supercar Races at the Gold Coast 600.
A second year apprentice, Sirocco McHenry really values the effort that goes into Nissan’s apprenticeship program, which includes a learning academy and NissMAP, combined with a TAFE course. He particularly enjoyed the hands-on learning experience offered by the weekend at the Gold Coast 600.
“I was one of two Nissan apprentices lucky enough to be selected to join the pit crew at the Gold Coast 600. The race went for two hours but working in the pits was fast-paced and hectic, and I had almost no time to watch the race between pit stops. Between observing the nine second pit stops, helping dig bits of wall out of the car, and praying that a bit of duct tape would keep it all together during the race, it was amazing that the team had a moment to breathe,” said Sirocco.
“The second day was as exciting as the first. My role was to make sure the dry ice for the drivers’ cooling system was ready to go for the pit team. Tensions were high as the race drew to a close. In the end, all of the hard work was worth it, with Caruso finishing in third place. It was an honour to spend the weekend with the team – I learnt so much and had the experience of a lifetime.”
Second year apprentice, Marcus Page was equally as excited at the opportunity to learn in an environment like the V8 Supercar Races. “I had the chance to work with the Jack Daniels racing team, learning all about how everything works within the team. First I helped get the cars ready for practice and race one. After the race there was some damage so I helped work on both Todd and Rick Kelly’s cars, replacing the front left guard and the K-frame under the engine. I even got to take the trolley with the spare wheels and tools out onto the grid for Todd Kelly. I found it so valuable to spend time with a knowledgeable group of people, learning practical skills I could never pick up in a classroom. I would love to do it again,” said Marcus.
It is rewarding, skills-focused on-the-job training opportunities, such as training at the Gold Coast 600, that have helped Nissan secure an apprenticeship retention rate of 84%, much higher than the industry average of just 49%.
In partnership with the WPC Group, the NissMAP initiative delivers value for Nissan’s dealer network and serves as a strategic initiative that addresses skill shortages and develops industry-leading Nissan trained technicians.
Commenced in July 2012, more than 50 apprentices are now taking part in the three-year NissMAP program, which includes trade school classes, one-on-one mentoring and hands-on experience. Over 35 Nissan dealerships are involved in the program, from Bairnsdale to Kingaroy, with more and more signing on as the benefits gained by participating dealerships becomes clear.