“Working here is awesome” says young apprentice

Posted on 2016-11-07 by CM

Article from Tararua's online newsletter - Talking Tararua

Apprentice mechanic Caleb Karena always wanted to work with cars, and says he is lucky to be where he is today, doing an apprenticeship with K.B. Ford in Dannevirke. Caleb says it was through doing work experience with the business, thanks to the Gateway programme he began in his last year at High School, that he was offered the apprenticeship.

“I was placed here getting experience and I loved it so much I even started coming in during the school holidays as well. When it got near to the end of school, I came and saw John Clarke who is one of the partners in the business, and asked if there were any opportunities for me. He said yes, I’ll sort something out, so here I am.”

Caleb, who has now been with K.B. Ford for three years, will finish his apprenticeship early next year and says he wants to stay with the company. “The guys here have really helped me; the environment here is great, and there’s heaps of support if I ever get stuck on something, there is always someone here to help me. I’m really lucky to be where I am, and I’m lucky to have a job in Dannevirke that’s close to home. I know people who travel to Palmerston North or Hawke’s Bay just to get work. I only live five minutes out of town so it’s nice and close.”

John Clarke describes Caleb as a ‘good young man with the right attitude’. “Caleb will develop in this industry because the key thing is he is passionate about it. Being a mechanic these days is more than just doing servicing and doing oil changes, today they have to be able to update software and a lot more. “Apprentices these days also have to be interested in the core industry they’re involved in otherwise they won’t stick at it.”

John should know, as over the years he has had a few people that have not worked out; however he has no doubts about Caleb and his enthusiasm and ability. “You need someone like Caleb who comes in and gets up to speed fairly smartly. That’s why we do a bit with the Gateway programme through the High School. You tend to get a good feel for how the kids take to the industry and the skill set they potentially have.”

Caleb says he is lucky to have got the opportunity to work for John, and describes him as the best boss anyone could wish for and someone who really looks after you. “Now I just want to learn all I can to help other young people in the future, like the boys that have helped me here, I want to help others who come along in this industry and share my knowledge with them.”

 Caleb Karena

Caleb Karena

- written by Barbara Gillham

This is the first article of the "Keep Employing Youth (KEY)" series, highlighting the value of youth employees in the Tararua District.