Knowledge and skills gained through training at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) has enabled Tongan alumnus, Lui Lino, to repair a hybrid car that broke down four years ago.
After the 2004 Toyota Prius broke down, its owner, a Tongan national, took it to a garage where mechanics told him they would not be able to repair the damaged engine.
The owner had no choice but to keep the vehicle off the road, in the hope that someone would be able to fix it someday. Then came Lui, who in June this year, completed a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology (AUR30616) at APTC in Fiji.
Lui’s training included two units of competency for hybrid battery electrical vehicles, including a unit on depowering and reinitialising battery electrical vehicles (AURETH001), and servicing and maintaining electrical components in hybrid electrical vehicles (AURETH012).
As part of this training at APTC, trainers create faults in live vehicles that students must then apply their knowledge and skills to in order to solve these problems and address the faults.
It was these comprehensive practical lessons that enabled Lui to work on a hybrid vehicle after returning to Tonga upon completing his studies.
He soon found out about the Toyota Prius vehicle, and confidently decided to give it a try.
With the skills gained from his training at APTC, Lui was able to fix the 2004 model Toyota Prius within half an hour.
According to Lui, while there were other issues with the car, the main high voltage cable connection was loose with carbon and rust deposit inside one of the motor generators. By cleaning and carrying out necessary adjustments, he was able to get the car running.
The owner was so impressed with Lui’s work that he paid Lui a great deal more than the initially agreed charge.
Expressing gratitude to APTC and his trainers for teaching him how to work on hybrid vehicles, Lui said the six months spent in Fiji helped him realise his dream of becoming a mechanic.
“I love this unit because no one in Tonga has been trained to work on hybrid vehicles. I'm grateful that APTC includes hybrid components in its workshop so it helped me carry out practicals,” he commented, adding that with this skill, he is helping his country while supporting his family.
Since fixing the hybrid, Lui shares that more people have been seeking his expertise in fixing their vehicles, and he also advises owners on taking proper care of their vehicles.
The only Tongan student at APTC in Semester 1 of 2019, he sees his training opportunity as a blessing.
“The training is a wonderful opportunity that provides students with a wealth of experience in only six months, which helps us in finding better jobs,” he added.
While Lui works as a mechanic at an engineering firm in Nuku’alofa, he hopes to own and manage his own mechanical workshop in the future.