Belle Meyer: Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology (Light Vehicle) apprenticeship

Belle Meyer: Hi, my name is Belle. I study
automotive mechanics here at St George Kogarah TAFE and I also work at Lexus where I carry
out my apprenticeship. In Year 10 I was living out in the country
and I was a bit unsure of where I wanted to go. I kind of wanted to drop out of school
and do a trade, and I found that Toyota was offering what they call a school based traineeship
where I studied, did my apprenticeship and I went to school and completed my HSC. The TVET was a course created by Toyota and
TAFE to encourage young high school students like myself during the HSC to see whether
they wanted to participate in industries such as the automotive. A lot of people think that working in a male
dominated environment you have to be physically strong. It’s not so much physically strong
but being tool smart. TAFE has been extremely inspirational to me.
My teachers that I’ve had have only encouraged me and entered me in competitions and given
me all the resources that I’ve ever needed, and I think without them I probably wouldn’t
have wanted to carry on this far and wouldn’t continue. TAFE gives us a really thorough understanding
of an engine and how it works and gives us really in detail ways of how to carry out
repairs and diagnose as well. Recently some of the specific things we’ve
been looking into and studying are engine heads and deciphering where problems could
be coming from – compression tests, air leakage, spark plugs, these sort of things that really
have to be perfect in an engine to have it maintained and working to how it should be. TAFE did teach us that being a mechanic you
have to be professional because a lot of things bounce back on you. If anything does go wrong
you are liable. TAFE has prepared me not only through education
but working amongst other people and working with people to pursue and carry out a job
as it’s meant to be done. For a girl thinking to do mechanics, you have
to be headstrong. You cannot be pushed around and you have to know where you stand and not
let anyone tell you different. I look back and I don’t so much compare myself
but I see how far I’ve come. The experience has definitely built up a personality which
I don’t think I would have any other way. One day I would love to work on a Chevrolet
or an old Buick or something really sort of huge, beastly cars. [LAUGHS]