Cat, Caterpillar, Industry Training, WesTrac

Post trade training: WesTrac Institute

Australian Earth Training’s Scott Lidster takes a closer look at the WesTrac Institute’s post trade training offering.

In this month’s edition of Industry Training, I thought I’d move out of the dirt and into the workshop to shine a light on the people who keep our diesel mechanics on top of their game and across the rapid advancements of our machine’s engines, systems, and components – post trade trainers!

Believe it or not, once an individual has completed their chosen apprenticeship, the training does not stop. It’s just the beginning.

To gain more insight into post trade training, I reached out to the great folk at WesTrac, the Cat® dealer for NSW, ACT, and WA. They put me in contact with their Post Trade Trainer James Peters at the WesTrac Institute to gain a greater understanding of what underpins his skills and knowledge and to look behind the scenes of a typical day.

About James

James started his apprenticeship in the mining industry 20 odd years ago in the Hunter Valley. After completing his apprenticeship, he did his time with various contractors before landing a full-time position at a coal mine. It was there that James was given the opportunity to become a crew trainer, a role he quickly realised he had a knack for.

As it tends to happen, a pathway started to present itself for James. He enjoyed what he did, being a mechanic, but he also genuinely enjoyed imparting his knowledge onto others.

That set him on the path to gaining his Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116) and seeking out casual work at a local Registered Training Organisation (RTO), where he honed his craft and embraced the challenge of teaching people new skills. Each class, like each learner, had its own unique challenges and learning styles.

James told us he was stoked to have landed a role with WesTrac about one year ago. He now gets to combine his passion for training and learning with new technology. Not to mention, he gets paid to talk as well as meet new people – tick!

A day in the life

A typical training day involves James coming in early to set up his classroom, reviewing the training material, and double checking his audio-visual equipment before the students arrive.

At the start of the course, he does a brief introduction where he asks what his students would like to take away from the course and outlines the structure of the day.

Like any good trainer – and after attending enough dull training sessions himself – James puts himself in his students’ shoes by realising the importance of keeping his classes fluid and interactive, limiting “death by PowerPoint” as best he can. His classes are like a big discussion where learners are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge.

After completing the theory component, he’ll then take his class out to the onsite WesTrac workshop where they get hands on experience in a practical environment, applying what they’ve just learned.

James says the most rewarding part of his role is seeing the students leave happy, having gained new knowledge from the course. He also hopes to have made a meaningful impact on their career development.

About WesTrac Institute’s post trade training

The WesTrac Institute is an RTO offering nationally recognised training packages for apprenticeships alongside short industry courses and safety and equipment operator training.

The institute’s focus is on ensuring customers are ahead of the curve regarding new developments with Cat equipment, and providing course participants with the skills and knowledge to service, repair, and diagnose mobile equipment and systems.

The WesTrac Institute offers a large range of post trade courses and can develop custom options to meet customer needs. Some of their most popular courses include:

  • Applied Failure Analysis 1 & 2
  • Hydraulics (Basic to Advanced)
  • Engines (Basic to Advanced)
  • Transmissions (Basic to Advanced)
  • Electronic Technician (ET) Sensors & Schematics
  • Scheduled Oil Sampling (SOS)
  • Emission Control Systems (Tier IV)
  • Air Conditioning
  • Electrical Systems
  • Machine Electronics
  • Fuel Systems.

If you’d like to learn more about WesTrac Institute’s courses, visit:  


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