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Local Mech Becomes Master Tech

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Janine McPhee from WPC Group, who mentored Thomas through his apprenticeship, with Margaret Huston, new Nissan Master Tech Thomas Hunt and Mark Huston … Janine praised Mark and Margaret for the considerable investment they’d put into Thomas’ training

May 24, 2018

A South Burnett mechanic has become a Nissan Master Technician just 18 months after finishing his four-year apprenticeship.

He’s also the youngest person to ever gain Nissan Master Technician status, and one of only 60 in Australia.

Thomas (Tom) Hunt, 24, is a third generation bush mechanic.

And while working life can occasionally be stressful, he says he relishes the challenges it gives him and looks forward to going to work every day.

He applied for an apprenticeship after completing his Higher School Certificate in 2011, and went to work for Huston Nissan in Kingaroy.

“I signed up for the four-year Nissan Mentored Apprenticeship Program (NissMAP) because it seemed like it had a lot more perks than the regular mechanic one,” Tom said.

“There’s more of a dealership focus and it’s more in-depth.”

As part of the program, he’s worked solo more, taught apprentices, learned more about teamwork and delved deeply into auto-electrical courses and diagnostics since he completed his apprenticeship.

He also did off-site training, which included a visit to the Melbourne Grand Prix where he got to put his nose under the bonnet of a Nissan racing car.

In order to become a Master Technician, Tom had to take a full-day exam in Melbourne in March.

He was part of a group of 24 elite Nissan technicians selected from Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia to sit the exam, and they were tested against challenging criteria.

“We had seven practical tests on cars trying to fix different faults, and we had 40 minutes to do each task with a short break in between,” Tom said.

“Then we had to complete a 30-question written exam.”

At the end of this gruelling process, Tom found he was one of just eight who had passed.

Now back at work at Huston Nissan, Tom’s new status means he gets the trickiest jobs “where we’ve exhausted all options”.

“I’ll keep diagnosing and looking for a solution, and I have to go through quite a bit,” Tom said.

“I have a lot of contact with the Nissan Tech Line guys who’ll also research it.

“If I find something that’s unusual and fix it, then someone else might have the same issue and the Tech Line can tell them what I did.”

Thomas is now looking at expanding his training.

“You never stop learning, you have to keep learning,” he said.

Huston Nissan owner Mark Huston said he instills the idea of setting goals and developing themselves in all his staff.

“I support the manufacturers’ training, such as Nissan, because it’s more advanced and the manufacturers have the latest technology,” Mark said.

“Thomas now has very good diagnostic skills and his memory is great – he can read the scans and understand the codes.”

Nissan NISSMAP mentor Anthony Frederiksen said he was delighted to see Thomas achieve Master Technician status.

“I had a little tear in my eye – I’m so proud of him,” Anthony said.

“What an achievement for this young man after coming through our NISSMAP program.

“Thomas has the will, the attitude and the skills to look after our valued customers in his role at Huston Nissan’s service department.”

Janine McPhee, the WPC Group mentor who guided Thomas through his apprenticeship, said Tom had shown exceptional talent, a great attitude and a willingness to challenge himself from the start.

“With this attitude, it does not surprise me that Thomas is the very first Master Technician to qualify via the NissMAP program nationally,” Janine said.

“It’s a fantastic program and for Thomas, a great achievement.”

In 2016 Tom was also one of three regional finalists nominated as Apprentice of the Year at the State Training Awards.

“He is an exceptional talent with an outstanding attitude and willingness to learn,” Janine said.

“He has a very bright future ahead of him in the Nissan Dealer network”.

Peter Amundsen and Steve Harvey, from Nissan, travelled to Kingaroy to present Thomas with his Master Technician trophy and certificate

After the presentation … Steve Harvey and Peter Amundsen, Janine McPhee, Margaret Huston (at rear), Thomas Hunt, Mark Huston and Craig Knight, from WPC Group, posed for a group photo to mark the day the South Burnett became home to Australia’ s youngest Nissan Master Technician

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