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Inspired to pass skills to the next gen


SKILLED: Darren Quinn works as a training and development manager for CMI Toyota. Picture Mike Burton/The Advertiser.

Courtesy of The Advertiser.

When 34 year-old Darren Quinn left school after finishing Year 11, he wasn’t sure what to do so he took a job washing cars. Within two weeks, he decided that working in a car dealership was for him and impressed his bosses with his work ethic.


Within six months he was offered an automotive apprenticeship. After completing a dual automotive trade in light vehicles and automotive electrical, Quinn moved to Adelaide to work as a technician for a decade, before stepping up his skills development as a trainer/teacher for the next generation of apprentices.


“The VET sector and the automotive industry is largely responsible for the successful career I currently enjoy,’’ Quinn says. “I believe the VET system has a massive amount of opportunities to offer young people. When I left high school, I didn't know the opportunities were there until I found that job at the dealership. I’d like people in high schools to know all about training and the opportunities the VET system can give them.’’


For the past 15 months, Quinn has been employed as a training and development manager at CMI Toyota, responsible for 45 apprentices for the two main apprenticeship programs – Certificate III in Automotive (Light Vehicles) and Certificate III in Automotive (Electrical). To keep his students engaged, he has developed a range of ways to conduct the training, including practical demonstrations, e-learning and group activities. He also prepares his own training equipment, ranging from sectioned components to electronic control modules for circuit testing.


“I was lucky enough to be exposed to passionate trainers and mentors, which kept me engaged and inspired me to push myself to learn as much as I could about my chosen profession,’’ he says.


“A challenge constantly faced in the automotive industry is the teaching of theories that cannot necessarily be seen or touched, such as electrical and electronics. I have taught myself to use the Adobe Suite to construct pictures and animations to help learners trying to grasp new concepts.’’ Quinn was recently awarded 2018 SA Training Awards VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year and was the runner-up for the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year award at the 2018 Australian Training Awards.

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