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Kevin's passion sees apprentices graduate in pole position

TAFE Queensland Leading Vocational Teacher Kevin Newbold has been involved in many ‘podium finishes’ across his thirty-year teaching career, demonstrating his vibrant commitment to the technology-driven automotive industry and his apprentices.

“Prior to my current role as Leading Vocational Teacher, I (of course) worked in industry as a motor mechanic, and then eventually took advanced trade night classes at the TAFE Queensland Mount Gravatt campus, as I knew I wanted to become a teacher,” Kevin explained.

“I find it very rewarding to inspire and teach the students about current and emerging technologies. It’s so exciting – anything to do with communication systems in motor vehicles including engine, transmission and associated dynamic control systems – this is what I specialise in,” he said.

Student success and engaging learning experiences is very important to Kevin – and under his guidance his students have been privy to a lot of it. So much so, that Kevin was recently nominated for ‘Educational Leader of the Year’ and ‘Educator of the Year’ at the TAFE Queensland Staff Awards.

“Two of my students who completed apprenticeships at BMW – one won ‘Queensland Apprentice of the Year’ and another won the gold medal at the Australian ‘World Skills’ competition. I then worked with both of them (who went on to be employed by BMW as a Team Manager and a mechanic) to be part of a team that built two race cars and subsequently won the Australian Manufacturers Championship.”

“Another teaching highlight was in March this year when two teachers from our TAFE Queensland Gold Coast Automotive Department, Rick Sullivan and Glenn Cuthbert, and I were asked by KIA Australia to deliver Hybrid and Electric vehicle training for new models that will be released at the end of 2021.”

“We trained all the technicians throughout Queensland and Northern NSW on these brand-new, unreleased vehicles. It was extraordinary, and a great success, and, because of our relationship with KIA they donated $120,000 worth of teaching aides, which ultimately benefits our current and future apprentices,” Kevin said.

In addition to having strong relationships with industry, Kevin believes TAFE Queensland automotive apprentices have a head start over other training provider-trained apprentices due to the TAFE Queensland staff and equipment.

“TAFE Queensland does things differently by employing the right people. I love the people I work with, my automotive team is fantastic, as are my supportive admin team, my manager – and all of this commitment, the energy and the good will flows directly on to the apprentice,” said Kevin.

“We also have the latest diagnostic testing equipment, and all of our third-year apprentices learn on vehicles that are fewer than two years old.”

As to what leads to apprentices’ success, Kevin says personal qualities play a big part.

“Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. If you have a passion for this industry – get in there and do it.”

When he’s not sharing his enthusiasm for his trade or a laugh with his team, Kevin enjoys travelling.

“Since the kids have left home, I’ve now got money. They were really holding me back,” he joked.

“Aside from these last two years, overseas travel is how we spend our spare time.”