All good things must come to an end. That’s precisely the case for three students from Le Laumua o Punaoa, who spent five weeks working at the Hyundai Service Center at Vaitele.
On Monday, a ceremony was held to congratulate the young men for completing their training. The programme is part of an ongoing service by Hyundai that started in 2003.
Director of Hyundai Automotive Samoa, Joshua Newton, said this was an opportunity for the students to further their knowledge.
“This is a very positive training and the outcomes are positive as well,” said Mr. Newton.
“It also allows them to experience what they are working towards and what they are going to do when they actually get to work. This is a great opportunity for them to see what their life is going to be after school. And they’ve really enjoyed the five weeks they spent here at Hyundai.”
“Of course this is a very busy service center and we have about 10-15 jobs every single day and it is good training for them.”
Mr. Newton said they were pleased to help the students.
“The company strongly supports these students because at the end of the day this is where we get our work force from.”
“I mean there are lots of foreign workers available but they are very experienced and we have to provide them with housing and accommodation and transport, whereas locals are more affordable for Samoan companies.”
“So we held certificate presentation and farewell on Monday morning and they are going back to school and this is their final year.”
“So when they graduate this year, they will be ready for the work force next year.”
“I am not too sure if there are many workshops that are supporting these types of activities so we are more than happy to help them out.”
“I mean they are just young boys but they just need a bit more guidance and direction and I really feel this is really what they want to do.”
“They can go study something their whole entire life but if they actually go out and do it, they will really know if this is what they want to do.”
“Not only that, we get the students in but we also have our own inner house facility which receives trainers from Ford and Hyundai here to train our technical and head technicians team.”
“Most of the students who come here for work experience they actually come back and work here and it’s no holiday for them.”
“Day one they have to enroll in the inner house training system and they are also put through vigorous tests and reviews and we have some standardized test papers that we run on students just to see what level that they are at before they start working for the company.”
“We also have to give reports back to the schools after the certain weeks that the students are here for.”
Mr. Newton added despite them helping those students, there was still a lot that needed to be done.
“I find that the students do have the ability, but the downfall here in Samoa is that the technical level that the schools are at need to be raised up a little bit,” he said.
“Because cars are moving ahead so quickly and I think that the curriculum that we are using in Samoa is probably the same curriculum that was used for the past 20-30 years ago.”
“So the government might need to look at ways to help improve the curriculum that’s offered.”
“I was talking to people in Fiji and they have panel beating school as well as painting school but in Samoa ever since I came here there are no schools for panel beaters.”
“There are lots of other trades that I think needs to be personalized to allow for the faster development of the workers in the force.”
“So I do believe that the technical side for automotive engineering is alright but there are a lot more that needs to be done,” he said.