Young 'truckie' keen to learn the ropes

Andrew Richards, 13, from James Hargest College doing a start-up check for a 545C log skidder at Goughs Invercargill
Andrew Richards, 13, from James Hargest College doing a start-up check for a 545C log skidder at Goughs Invercargill

A young machinery enthusiast from James Hargest College is the youngest pupil in the country to join the Youth Into Industry programme.

Andrew Richards, 13, is also the first in New Zealand to do the programme via correspondence to its main centre in Northland. The programme teaches pupils about transport and machinery through written tasks and work placements.

Youth Into Industry programme co-ordinator Alistair McIntyre, also known as Doug the Digger Man, started the programme in 2010 and said it could set Andrew up for work placements.

"Andrew is mad-keen on trucks. When he's 16, because of his learning and knowledge he could get a work placement one day a week."

Simon Richardson, James Hargest College head of careers and Gateway co-ordinator, said Andrew was the youngest pupil he knew of doing the programme.

"It's pretty radical, as far as I can see, to offer that level of work experience at that age.

"I've got an open mind and I'm keen to see how it pans out."

Mr Richardson said Andrew would be a strong candidate for the Gateway programme when he reached the senior school.

Andrew said he was inspired to become a truck driver when Doug the Digger visited his school two years ago.

"I want to be a truck driver when I grow up. I've learnt that the choices you make now will affect your life forever," he said.

Course participants learn about health and safety, drug testing and mechanics.

The Southland Times