At only 18 years old, Sidney has already begun an impressive career path in the automotive industry, proving that “trades are not gender specific.” Growing up in Matamata, Sidney and her family had always loved cars. The annual truck shows are fond memories for Sidney, but she had never truly considered a career in the automotive industry. That all changed when she attended the Matamata College Trades Expo around two years ago. Sidney met Malcolm, the owner of Matamata Panel Works who opened her eyes to the world of refinishing (car painting). Malcolm didn’t think twice about Sidney being a female, and instead saw a smart and passionate student. “I knew she was bright enough to handle the paperwork and keen enough to learn the trade.” Before long, Sidney was their newest MITO - Te Pūkenga apprentice, and she has been working towards her New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair and Automotive Refinishing (Level 3 and 4) ever since.
Hard work at both school and in the workshop has continuously paid off for Sidney, starting with receiving a Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award and then an AA Insurance Scholarship. Sidney said it felt great to be acknowledged for all the work she’d been putting in. Her new spray gun and money from the awards helped kickstart her career. “I’ve been able to set myself up really nicely for work.” Sidney’s employer Malcolm has seen her talents only continue to grow and plans to nominate her for next year’s Collision Repair Association Apprentice of the Year Golden Gun award too.