Case Study 6: Sustainable Vehicle Technicians

Certificate Automotive Engineering

3.Sustainable Transport1.Zero Carbob2.Zero Waste4.Sustainable MaterialsDS549 icons 10

Who was Involved?

Unitec’s Vehicle Systems and Materials team is currently developing a new level 3 Certificate in Automotive Engineering. While sustainability is not a focus of New Zealand Qualification requirements, to meet Unitec’s strategic commitment to embedding sustainability into our programmes this has been fully integrated within the programme alongside health and safety, social issues and matauranga maori. The creation of the programme has been led by Niranjan Singh, who holds Diplomas in Tertiary Education, Automechanics and Autoengineering. Niranjan wrote the programme document and is now working with the team develop course content and delivery, which will be in Unitec’s new purpose built trade building, to be opened in semester 2 2017 with some exciting new technology and facilities available to students.

What Happened?

The programme document is already completed and integrates sustainability as one of the elements of the programme. The programme has a strong emphasis on applied sustainability, which focuses on minimising the environmental and social (health) impacts of combustion engine technologies. A student completing this course will explore:

  • how to use resources efficiently and minimise waste,
  • minimising the potential environmental harm caused by automotives: maximising fuel efficiency, while minimising vehicle emissions,
  • good practice in the disposal and/or recovery of both fluids and waste materials, maximising correct handling, collection, storage, disposal, recovery, treatment and recycling
  • learn new things, can engage with employers to create a work environment that minimises the impact of their activities and
  • knowledge to be able to influence customers to make more environmentally sustainable vehicle procurement and maintenance choices

What happened?

The course is being designed to fully integrate elements of sustainability directly into the content, delivery and assessment completed ensuring that students experience applying the skills learnt. The course is heavily based on practice with correct fluid storage, handling and disposal all part of practice in the on-campus workshops. Metal recycling, oil recovery, part reuse and recycling are all integral to the practical skills students are developing.

What was the Outcome?

The result – future vehicle technicians with the ability to make sustainable choices within their work and the ability to influence employers and customers to follow the latest best practices as well. With transport contributing 17% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and an aging vehicle fleet these technicians will be able to optimise the performance of the vehicles they work with, to minimise emissions, improve efficiency and prevent waste and pollution occurring. They’ll also be able to steer customers towards more efficient and sustainable vehicle purchase choices as well. With a growing awareness about the financial cost of fuel and the environmental impact of fossil fuel emissions the ability to direct customers towards maintenance and procurement choices which minimise the total cost of ownership is a desirable skill.

Links to related Sustainability Approaches and Resources:

Vehicle Fuel Economy Labels

Vehicle Total Cost of Ownership Tool

Ministry of Transport – Transport Emissions

Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority – vehicles

Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority – electric vehicles

Ministry for the Environment – end of life tyre management

Euro 5 Vehicle Emission Standards