The Australian automotive aftermarket makes a difference to the lives of individuals and communities. There are plenty of great stories in the automotive aftermarket so over the next six months AAAA Executive Director, Stuart Charity, will highlight some of these to the readers of Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.

The following story is the third in a series highlighting how aftermarket companies give back to the community, featuring ACM Parts: driving Australia’s students further

ACM Parts’ national TAFE and automotive training facilities outreach program is helping drive the careers of the next generation of automotive experts.
Since 2015, ACM Parts has been developing a strong national network of support for the TAFE system and other training providers which specialise in collision and mechanical repair.
“ACM Parts recognises the future of the automotive and collision repair industry lies in supporting the next generation of automotive experts,” ACM Parts Chief Executive Officer, Mike Kirkham, said.
“We want to help today’s apprentices become future leaders in all aspects of automotive repair.
“Our community projects have therefore focused on education and training initiatives that support and enhance the knowledge and skills of automotive apprentices, and which also strengthen ties between training institutes and the automotive repair industry.”
As part of its national TAFE and automotive training facilities outreach program, ACM Parts has already formed partnerships to support collision and mechanical repair students with Chisholm TAFE (Victoria), TAFE Queensland SkillsTech (Queensland) and the Kangan Institute (Victoria).
The first TAFE partnership, signed in 2015 with Chisholm TAFE, was rolled out in 2016.
“In light of the overwhelming success of this TAFE collaboration (with Chisholm), ACM Parts has continued to approach other training institutes with which to partner to deliver quality learning opportunities,” Mike said.
“The TAFE Queensland SkillsTech partnership commenced this year, and a sponsorship agreement has also been finalised for a partnership with Kangan Institute.
“We are also in discussions with TAFE Western Sydney Institute on a potential partnership.”
While there are similarities between the collaborations, each partnership is unique with ACM Parts and each TAFE carefully tailoring each arrangement to suit the specific education needs of the students, teachers and institutions involved in the program.
Some of the TAFE partnership highlights to date include:
• ACM Parts donating multiple car bodies, as well as a large range of ACM Certified aftermarket and high-quality recycled parts (together valued at $40,000) for students to use in automotive training courses to develop and practice their skills. This donation enabled and encouraged students to use aftermarket parts and obtain firsthand experience of the quality of aftermarket parts.
• Chisholm TAFE students undertaking a car restoration project. Twelve third-year apprentices worked to repair and restore a 2007 Toyota Corolla, donated by ACM Parts, to full working condition using recycled and aftermarket parts, polishing skills that include collision and mechanical repair, panel beating and spray painting. Students worked together under supervision to oversee the project from start to finish, taking on tasks that included repairing and priming the car’s structural damage, replacing, preparing and painting the car doors, preparing the front and rear bumpers, and rectifying other paint and body defects. The finished vehicle will be sold at auction to raise funds for Chisholm TAFE scholarships, which will be used to support disadvantaged students.
• ACM Parts also supports Chisholm’s Automotive Student of the Year award, which went to third-year automotive student Nathan Thomson. ACM Parts supplied a tool kit prize to support Nathan’s work.
• SkillsTech automotive students have commenced building a drag racing car, with ACM Parts having donated a car body and automotive parts to the project. SkillsTech apprentices from all skill levels will use these parts to do the necessary restoration and performance modification work on the donated 2007 Holden Commodore.
• ACM Parts has also hosted industry education sessions to improve student and educator knowledge and awareness of the breadth of automotive parts available, including Original Equipment, recycled and independently certified aftermarket parts, and also to raise awareness of the benefits and quality of aftermarket parts, and of inflated OE part prices. These sessions are instrumental in encouraging students to consider using aftermarket parts in their future careers.
The TAFE partnerships have been very successful in helping to deliver quality education to automotive students, and providing opportunities for them to excel in their chosen field.
More than 2000 students at TAFE Queensland SkillsTech across the TAFE’s 70 automotive courses, including TAFE at School programs, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and post-trade training courses, and approximately 60 automotive students at Chisholm TAFE and will benefit from ACM Parts’ sponsorship each year.
The feedback ACM Parts has received from the TAFE institutes to date has been overwhelmingly positive.
Chisholm TAFE Senior Educator, Automotive Technology – Supply Chain Management, Damien Bitzios, said he feels the partnership is great for our industry, while his colleague and Automotive Vehicle Body Repair Teacher Adrian Lightbody says “ACM Parts’ generosity this year has helped our students get the first-rate training they need to become leaders in the automotive repair sector.”
TAFE Queensland SkillsTech Business Manager – Delivery Teams, Educational Delivery, Shawn O’Sullivan, said that through the partnership “SkillsTech students are guaranteed access to a broad suite of high-quality automotive parts, which is really important at the training stage of their careers,” while his colleague and Light Vehicle Automotive Mechanical Teacher Mark Booker said the kind of real-life experience offered by the partnership is essential for young people trying to get into the industry and will make a world of difference to their future careers.
ACM Parts’ national TAFE and automotive training facilities outreach program doesn’t represent the limit of the company’s community programs either.
ACM Parts – through its wholly owned subsidiary DIY Auto Parts – has also supported the Sunbury SES with a donation of 15 car bodies to use in their ongoing road rescue training.
“ACM Parts believes it is important to give back to organisations that provide valuable services to the health of the wider community,” Mike explained.
“The local SES groups are vital to ensuring the safety of Victorians in emergencies. These groups are local community organisations made up of volunteers who need access to proper training with the right equipment in order to be effective.
“We are proud to have been able to help such an important organisation fulfil their specific training needs.”

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