Motor Vehicle student shows incredible drive to land job
An Ayrshire College graduate who was concerned his disability could stop him getting a job in the motor vehicle industry has now started work as an MOT Tester at National Tyres & Autocare in Ayr.
Craig Fitzgerald, 31 from Galston, suffered a stroke when he was just one-year-old which left him weak down his right side. Accepting that other people could perform certain tasks in half the time, Craig was undeterred as he signed up for an Access course in Light Vehicle Maintenance at Ayrshire College.
Craig credits lecturers and support staff at the college with encouraging him to continue to pursue his passion whenever he had doubts. Now he is delighted to be working full-time as an MOT Tester after putting in the hard miles.
Craig said: “When I applied for a course at Ayrshire College, the lecturer advised me to start on the Access course. I’m glad he did that because it gave me that extra experience of what it would be like.
“I enjoyed the course, but sometimes it felt overwhelming. Especially when I got to second year and it got a bit more in-depth. Sometimes I was feeling that I should drop out, but the College’s Student Services team helped me, saying ‘you've come this far, don't throw it all away’.
“When I was in my final year - IMI Level & Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair at SCQF Level 7 - I started looking for work. We knew it might be difficult because of my disability, but my lecturers encouraged me to think about becoming an MOT tester.
“I agreed that this would be the best way into the industry. So I got my MOT certificate, and then needed to sit a final exam. However, I struggled to find anyone to help me with that. Finally - one month before my MOT license expired - Blair Garage in Stewarton helped me out. I then travelled down to Northampton out of my own pocket and explained my situation to MOT Expert who put me through the exam.”
Craig then applied for many jobs, including one with National Tyres & Autocare in East Kilbride.
Although he did not get the job, he made a lasting impression and was recommended for the MOT Tester position at their Ayr branch.
Craig said: “I started last week, and I feel great to be in somewhere. The interview was the most comfortable interview I’ve ever had, they immediately made it feel like a family atmosphere. After the one-to-one interview, I was asked to come back in the afternoon to carry out a mock MOT test and was successful with that.
“It’s been really good so far. I’ve also been changing tyres and just generally helping out around the garage. I overcame a lot of obstacles at Ayrshire College but to do it in the workplace is a different story, as it’s a lot faster. Most of my workmates have been here for over six years and they’ve been great with me, they appreciate the help I’ve been giving them and they also understand my limits.
“To get my foot in the door allows me to keep going, no looking back. I have two daughters and the first thing they said was “now we can go to Disneyland!”, so they're very happy I'm in work!”
17 September 2020