David Salmeron - Teacher at Automotive Centre of Excellence

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Date: 19th Feb 2020


Employment in the automotive industry is strong and growing. There are 17 million cars in Australia alone, which means that the world needs a lot of mechanics to keep them running and roadworthy. 

Kangan Institute trainers like David Salmeron are teaching the next generation of automotive mechanics by training them on the newest technology in the industry.

“What sets Kangan Institute apart is the training facility and the trainers that work here,” says David, when we ask him about why he teaches at Kangan Institute. 

That’s only part of the reason David chooses Kangan Institute, and why his students love learning from him.

Hands-on Experienced 

David has been a mechanic for almost 30 years. In that time, he has done a lot and he’s seen a lot of change.

“Started working as an apprentice mechanic at the age of 15,” he says. “Started in a small workshop in Melbourne near Victoria Market, worked for a Holden dealership and also worked as a mobile mechanic.”

Back then, Ford and Holden dominated the Australian automotive industry without much competition from foreign vehicles (such as Toyota, which dominates today), and cars were rapidly being enhanced with in-built computers and sensors.

This means that David built his career and his knowledge in an industry as it was undergoing massive changes, so he understands the importance of learning up-to-date skills. 

“My teaching philosophy is that my experience in the trade, keeping current in the automotive industry and the struggles that we go through as teachers reflects in a good way through our students.”

It’s important for David to teach at an institution that supports him to live up to this philosophy.

This is why he teaches at Kangan Institute.

Why David Chooses Kangan Institute

“Practical experience at Kangan Institute is achievable through the trainers’ experience in the trade and the facilities that the school offers us,” David says.

Teachers at Kangan Institute put the experience of their students before anything else.

“The question is not why should someone study here, it should be, ‘What can Kangan Institute offer our students?’”

For David, the answer is simple.

“We offer great facilities, decades of teacher experience, work placements, the latest technology and a great and safe environment.”

Kangan Institute is always investing in their teachers. This makes it possible for David to keep up to date on all the latest trends in automotive. 

Other Registered Training Organisations (RTO) don’t provide this kind of support, which makes it almost impossible for trainers to keep up in a technology driven industry.

David is grateful that Kangan Institute isn’t like that.

“What sets Kangan Institute apart is the training facility and the trainers that work here. I know this because I have worked at various private RTOs and you cannot compare them to Kangan Institute.”

David says that he knows he’s doing a good job based on the feedback from his students. Out of everything, that’s what matters most to him.

What the Students Say

Teaching at a school with people from all over the world poses challenges for any teacher, but David is the kind of person who will always rise to that challenge.

“I walk into my classroom and I have to deal with 18 different attitudes, which is a huge task, but I think that, until this day, I’ve done it well.”

“An average day in my class starts with welcoming everyone and making them know that I want them here,” he says. He adds that he thinks creating a good classroom environment, where students are interested and engaged, is crucial and comes before discussions about, “theory and practical assessments.”
The way David sees it, the best way to train the next generation of mechanics isn’t about bossing people around and making them do their homework. It’s about encouraging discussion, by getting students to ask questions and discover the answers together, through hands-on problem solving.

That’s the reason that David’s teaching motto is, “Students don’t care how much I know, until they know how much I care.”

David knows that he is living up to his own standards when he sees his students succeed and achieve their goals. 

“What I love at Kangan Institute is the diversity of the students, the challenge of teaching someone who has never touched a car before and the rewarding feeling when my students graduate.”

Because of the positive relationships he builds with students, David often hears positive feedback from students he’s trained. With so many memorable experiences, it’s hard for him to pick a single highlight from three decades in the industry. 

“There isn’t one rewarding moment but many moments when I reflect on what I do. Students will send me messages, emails, phone calls thanking me for allowing them into my own little world of automotive knowledge.”

Over the years he’s helped countless students on their path to become qualified mechanics. His passion for automotive and his love for the job means that he’ll be teaching the next generation of mechanics, for generations to come.

Want to apply to study at Kangan Institute? You can browse our Automotive courses here, call us on 13TAFE, or apply online now.