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Student Testimonials

Read a great article about our tutor, Frank – “The Bike Mechanic Legend”

What students say about the Bicycle Mechanic course:


Vict Gonzales


Certificate in Bicycle Mechanics Level 3 & 4
Bike Mechanic, Electrify NZ

After two redundancies and a complete career change, Vict is loving his new life as a bike mechanic.

What inspired you to become a bicycle mechanic?
I worked as an analyst for Spark for 15 years and thought I’d be there until retirement – but after they made me redundant for the second time I was forced to rethink my future. I was applying for lots of jobs but not having much success, and then I stumbled across an ad for Cornerstone Education’s bicycle mechanic training programme. I’d never considered a career as a mechanic, but I’d always been interested in bikes, so I thought I’d give it a go. During my course, I worked part-time at Pack & Pedal, and from there it has evolved into a rewarding career.

How did the course help you get started in a new industry?
The course was a very good investment. For those who are interested in bikes, or keen to learn the bike business, then it’s a must!

The tutor was great, and thanks to his many years of experience, he was able to pass on simple, cost-effective solutions to us, that really worked. He shared deep, traditional skills, that some modern mechanics lack, and he taught me a lot. Even now that I’ve graduated, I can always go to him for help and advice, and the school is still available for me to use if I need to.

You graduated a year ago. What are you up to now?
I work as a bike mechanic for Electrify NZ, a business based in Freemans Bay that specialises in electric bikes (e-bikes). I’m happy about being a mechanic. I love learning new things about e-bikes and acquiring different skills. I’ve become much more confident in talking to people about bikes and have gained a whole new set of social skills.

I also do my own bike fixing at the weekends. I haven’t advertised anywhere yet, and get my customers through referrals. It can be hard getting an account with major suppliers though, as they want you to be a retailer, have a shop, and be GST registered. I’ve started importing bike parts and accessories in small quantities and I’m learning to hunt for bargains and negotiate with overseas suppliers. I hope to eventually turn this into my own full-time business.

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Mat Manning


Certificate in Bicycle Mechanics Level 3 & 4
Bike Mechanic, Torpedo 7

A trip to Europe, and a love of tinkering, inspired a new career path for former fencing contractor Mat.

Have you always had a thing for bikes?
I’ve had push-bikes all my life, and spent a lot of time mucking around with them when I was a kid. That was back in the days when there were no big bike shops – if something on your bike broke, you had to fix it yourself! I originally trained as an engineer, and have always enjoyed the practical, mechanical side of things. I’ve also always been interested in restoring vintage bikes, and have spent a lot of my spare time fixing them up.

How did you turn your love of bikes into a new career?

During a trip to Europe two years ago, my partner and I rented bikes and cycled everywhere. Being rentals, they were a bit rough and I would tinker with them to get them right. At the time, I was thinking about a career change. I was working as a domestic fencing contractor but the business was growing and becoming too much for one person. I needed to take on someone else to keep up with demand, but I didn’t want the added headache of having staff. When my partner saw how much I was enjoying fixing up these rental bikes, she suggested I consider becoming a bike mechanic. It seemed like a great option!

I recalled seeing an ad for Cornerstone’s bicycle mechanic course, so as soon as we got back from Europe I got in touch. After talking to the tutor, I was in! It was a great programme – it taught me a lot, gave me a qualification, and also some valuable experience. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to secure my current job as a bike mechanic for Torpedo7 in Mt Wellington.

I started working at Torpedo7 a couple of months before I graduated, and I’m really happy here. I work under a master mechanic who has been around for a very long time, so I am learning heaps and gaining lots of great experience. The people I work with are really capable, and very supportive.

Where to next?

Since doing the course I’ve had offers of work in Ohakune, where I own a house. It’s my long-term plan to move back down there, open a cycle shop and offer cycle tours to tourists. I think that will be a pretty perfect way to combine my career with a great lifestyle. For the next few years though I’m keen to stay on at Torpedo7 and keep building my skills and experience.

 

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Will Calver


Certificate in Bicycle Mechanics Level 3
Owner & Bike Mechanic, Cycle Service

Studying to become a bike mechanic has helped professional photographer Will create his ultimate lifestyle.

What motivated you to sign up for the Certificate in Bicycle Mechanics?
I’m a professional photographer, and with photography you tend to have very intense, busy periods of work and then really quiet patches. I was looking for a way to create a small business that fitted in with my photographic work. I’ve always had a passion for bikes. I ride five times a week and coach a school team – I’ve been involved in school cycling for the last eight or nine years. I have two sons that also ride and we have a garage full of bikes that are constantly needing repairs and maintenance. I came up with the idea of setting up a mobile bicycle mechanic business, and decided to take the course to build my skills.

Was it a good decision?
Yes! I really enjoyed the course and I gained substantial benefit in terms of knowledge. My tutor covered a broad range of content within the 22-week programme, and gave me a good grasp of the basics of bike mechanics. Although I came into it with reasonable bike knowledge, the course enabled me to get involved in areas I previously hadn’t. It improved my confidence and was a really good first step. Since graduating, I’ve continued to grow and learn. I’m currently working my way through the Shimano systems online, and because every bike is different, I’m learning lots on the job too.

Tell us about your new business?
Earlier this year I launched a mobile bike mechanic service called Cycle Service. I have a fully equipped van/mobile workshop and go to clients’ homes and workplaces to service and repair their bikes. Customers can book online at www.cycleservice.co.nz, and I have accounts with all the major wholesalers for parts. I started off local – I’m based on the North Shore – but thanks to my cycling networks, word of mouth, social media and great reviews, my business has really grown and I now have clients all over Auckland.

The business has taken off quite nicely, so I’m now working towards getting another van, and another mechanic onboard. Eventually I’d like to franchise Cycle Service, as I’ve seen this work really successfully overseas.

I have managed to create a really good lifestyle job. I spend part of my working life as a professional photographer, and the other part as a mobile bike mechanic. It’s given me the best of both worlds!

 

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Leonid Shishov


Certificate in Bicycle Mechanics Level 3 & 4
Bike Mechanic, Pack & Pedal

Cornerstone Education’s bicycle mechanics course gave Leo the New Zealand-recognised qualification he needed to reignite his career.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Kyrgyzstan and immigrated to New Zealand 11 years ago, after my sister moved here with her Kiwi husband. A lot of my relatives are here now too. I worked as a bicycle mechanic in Kyrgyzstan for 20 years, but despite all my experience, when I came to New Zealand I found it difficult to get a job because I didn’t have a New Zealand-recognised qualification. I had a Diploma in Bicycle Mechanics from Russia but that didn’t seem to count for much, as far as many Kiwi employers were concerned. I managed to get a job building bikes for Bike Barn in Newmarket, however when that branch closed down I had to get back out there and job hunt again. It was hard to find a good job without New Zealand papers, so I decided to head back to the classroom and gain a qualification.

Was it a good move?
Absolutely! I was a bit concerned at first because English is my second language, so I thought I might have problems understanding what the teacher was saying. But I needn’t have worried. Our teacher was very good and the course was very useful. If you don’t have much bike mechanic experience it’s a great place to start, as they teach you a lot. For me I had the knowledge, so it was more about gaining a New Zealand-recognised qualification. Once I had that piece of paper it was much easier for me to get a good job.

How did Cornerstone Education help you get back on track with your career?
After I graduated, my teacher told me that Pack & Pedal were looking for a new bike mechanic. The manager recognised me from my Bike Barn days, and thanks to that and my new qualification, he offered me the job! I’ve been here for three years now and I really enjoy it. I do everything from building new bikes, and doing repairs and services in the workshop, to being out on the shop floor selling bikes and equipment. When you work in a bike shop you can’t just be a bike mechanic – you have to be familiar with all aspects of bikes and be able to do a bit of everything. I love communicating with the customers, and am happy to be working in an industry I love. So many people do jobs they don’t like because they need to make a living, but I think it’s really important to do something you really enjoy.

 

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jamie-phillips-200x200I’ve been toying with bikes all my life. I’d take them apart and put them back together again from age 7 or 8.

When I first heard about the bike mechanic course, I couldn’t believe it! I’d been wanting to do a course like this my whole life. I rang up straight away but the class had started 2 weeks ago, so I had to wait another 6 months for the next one. That was agony!

I’m into all sorts of sports, fishing, surfing, league, golf, BMX and down-hill mountain biking too.

My goal is to set up a cycle touring business in the Coromandel or Tauranga one day, once the new cycle tracks are complete.

In the meantime I’ll be growing my experience in bike shops.

Frank, our tutor, is a lovely man, he’s willing to help out however he can. Instead of telling us how to set-up our workspaces, he’d tell us to give it a go ourselves and then he’d offer suggestions along the way. What a great way to teach.

You have to have a true passion for cycling to join this course. Don’t think of it as just a job, it’s a career for life.
Jamie Phillips

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I had just finished high school and was thinking of doing a building apprentice when I saw the ad for this bicycle mechanic course. I had no idea such a course was offered.

I’m into BMX and Mountain Biking so I thought, why not learn more about what I’m excited and passionate about? I signed up.

I’ve learned about building up wheels and hubs, and taking entire bikes apart and rebuilding them again, I’ve loved it. Frank, our tutor, is really good, he knows a lot about the technology.

My classmates are older than me (I’m 16), and we all have very different backgrounds, we got to know each other quickly and it’s really fun learning with them.

Our workshop has the latest gear and has tools that even the bike shops don’t have, it couldn’t be better.

Are you passionate about bikes? Will you commit fully to this course? If so, my advice to you is to sign up like I did. You’ll love it.
Ben Gibson


I love working with bikes. I’ve been repairing bikes at home for years for customers.

I started this bicycle mechanic course because I wanted to progress my career further, and ensure I’m up to date with the latest cycle technology.

Our tutor, Frank, has a great communication style, he provides vivid examples, and explains things in simple, easy to understand terms. He seems to know everything there is worth knowing in cycling, and if there is something he doesn’t know, he’ll find out before the next class.

If you are thinking about joining the course, don’t wait. If you want to progress your career further, and you like working with bikes, this course is for you.

– Anton Smith


A couple of years ago I saw one of the first ads for this bicycle mechanic course and I kept the phone number.

I got a bicycle of my own for commuting and wanted to know how to look after it properly and save money on servicing so I remembered about the course, found the phone number, called, and signed up.

I love servicing bikes, and now friends are always coming to my house for help.

One day perhaps I’ll be a mechanic for teams at the Tour de France, but for, while I’m still on the course, I am content to run a small cycling group of my own in South Auckland. 6 of us go cycling together every week.

If you love cycling, you should join the course! Our tutor, Frank, the tools we use, and workshop, are mean!

– Astro Taufete’e


bill-paki-200x200To our future students, it was a most auspicious and grand journey for me. Students, teachers, and staff all help each other when in need. I wish great success for all future students.

A big thank you to Karen, Dion, and Frank. Kia Ora.
Tiritiowaitangi (Bill) Paki


kennan-abunda-200x200I’ve been cycling since high school, and last year did the Ironman 70.3 in the Phillippines in 30 degree heat.

This bicycle mechanic course was certainly helpful. Fixing your own bike is one thing, but you’ve got to learn how to do it properly these days. Without the proper knowledge you could damage your bike with trial and error.

I also found the work experience with Avanti and Sheppard Industries valuable.

Right now I’m working at the Hotel Rendezvous Grand in Auckland as a concierge part-time but I plan on getting bicycle mechanic work over summer.
Kennan Abunda

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lucinda-staniland-200x200I’m working in an Organic Shop right now, it’s walking distance to where I live, and my flatmates and I don’t even own cars, we just ride our bikes and bus everywhere we need to be. I worked in a bike hire shop last summer and will probably again this summer. I’ve been riding a long time, and competitively in high school.

I was attracted to this bicycle mechanic course for a number of reasons. Firstly, in this male-dominated industry, bike shops want to hire women, that gives me an advantage.

Second, I wanted to pick up some practical skills, something hands-on.

Third, a course that wasn’t too long and wasn’t too expensive. So, I got lots of practice on the basics and quite enjoyed learning the history and evolution of biking technology.

Finally, having this qualification gives me the ability to work anywhere in the world.

Wholesome, natural foods and living sustainability are important to me and so are going on adventures. In 2013 I cycled around the South Island for 2 months (about 2000kms), and I’m planning to walk the length of NZ in 2016 (3000kms).
Lucinda Staniland


I thought the Bicycle Mechanic course was really cool, I learnt heaps. I enjoyed every part of it, the book work, learning about components, diagnosing bikes, pulling them apart, putting them back together again, everything.

I live in Morrinsville and haven’t been able to find work here yet, but ideally I’d love to move to Rotorua and work in a bike shop near the Skyline MTB Gravity Park.
Dylan Flynn


I’ve been an aborist for years, and that kind of work has taken it’s toll on my body, I needed a change. I’m a road cyclist, and enjoy bunch riding on the weekends, plus I’ve done lots of commuting to work in the past. But other than that, I had no mechanic experience at all. Even so, I had toyed with the idea of switching to a career as a Bicycle Mechanic for some time, so when I came across this course I jumped straight in.

I very much enjoyed the classes, and especially tinkering with the bikes. The tutor was great, a top guy, and the other students were good guys too. I really miss it actually! I graduated July 2014 and now I work at “239 Bike” in Pukekohe. During the course I volunteered to work there on my days off, and they offered me a full time job which I walked straight into after finishing the course!
Andrew Graham


Cornerstone Education’s Bike Mechanic course is great for someone wanting to break into the bike industry. It helped me secure a job running a small, busy workshop.

You get out of it what you put into it, and our tutor, Kurt, was good at passing on his experience and knowledge to us.
Tim Ellis


The course taught me a whole lot of new skills. I had a great time with the group I worked with, and had a great teacher. In all, a great course, great people!! Keep shreding!
Josh Goldstone


alex-heany-200x200Awesome experience to create new opportunities, great tutor that interacts well with all students. Highly recommended course.
Alex Heaney


andrew-wong-200x200I began the Level 3 and Level 4 Bicycle Maintenance course with tutor Kurt Ribeiro. I really enjoyed the classes – thoroughly recommended if you love all things bikes, riding and learning, and the chance to work in a Bicycle shop.
Andrew Wong


This course is a must! Don’t think about it, just do it!
Alex Aslanides


Awesome tutor (Kurt) who goes the extra mile to help you get through the course with a smile.
Joseph Anderson


jamie-warren-200x200I was a self-taught, so there were things for me to polish up on and some things I didn’t even know prior to completing the course.
Jamie Warren


I came from a completely different industry, so the work experience component of the course gave me an understanding of what actually happens in bike shops.
Jamie Gemmell

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mike-buttar-200x200I pretty much had no experience, only fixing my own bikes really. The course definitely helped me to get a job, I even managed to get a part-time job half way through the course.
Mike Buttar


russell-archer-200x200I wanted to become a bike mechanic, and I wanted to actually learn how to fix stuff rather than trying and failing (and then having to pay for it!).
Russell Archer