Yamaha Student Grand Prix

Creating opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences within the motorcycle and marine mechanics fields.

For some time Yamaha and their industry colleagues have been experiencing a lack of skilled staff , particularly technicians, within their dealer network.  In recent times the mining boom has made the situation worse. The organisation wanted to take a pro active approach to the problem.

Yamaha could see the need to provide information to school students in an effort to promote their industry. If a school leaver was thinking about an apprenticeship in the automotive or heavy plant mechanics area they wanted them to consider becoming a Marine or Motorcycle Technician.

The problem for Yamaha was figuring out how they gain access to students through the schools. The answer came in the form of  Partnership Brokers.

Two Partnership Broker providers, South West Connect and Creating Brighter Career Connections, introduced them to high schools in south western Sydney. Later, The Smith Family Partnership Brokers introduced high schools in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

The partnerships started in 2010 with information sessions and hands on basic training for some year 9 and 10 students in Sydney. The object being to start conversations with the students relating to careers and give them some idea what it would be like to be a Motorcycle or Marine Technician.

Yamaha Grand PrixIn 2011, to progress the program and make it more appealing and interesting for the students Yamaha emulated their existing Technicians Grand Prix (a biennial skills competition) modifying it to make it suitable for their objectives for the students. Currently they are working with nine high schools and community groups in Sydney’s inner and south west areas and three high schools in the Brisbane and Gold Coast area.

The Student Grand Prix includes a number of activities.  It starts with a formal introduction to year 9 and/or year 10 students at their school assemblies. The program is explained and Yamaha provide a small taste of how exciting their industry is and how they can become part of that excitement.

The schools then choose approximately 16 interested students to attend a training day at Yamaha’s national training facilities at either Wetherill Park or Murrarie in Brisbane.  The training day gives every student the opportunity to learn, via hands on experience, some important servicing procedures as well as exercises related to spare parts interpreting covering both Motorcycle and Marine products.

Yamaha evaluates each student’s ability and attitude and selects 2 from each school to attend the Grand Prix day.  At the GP day each finalist is asked to perform the same tasks in a competitive but fun environment.

The program also includes visits to local  TAFE colleges to see where apprentices are trained and obtain more insight into the industry.  Also, the students visit local dealerships to obtain first hand knowledge of the work environment and start conversations with service managers and dealer principals on expectations and work ethics.

Where possible students are introduced to the Motorsport side of the industry by arranging field excursions to road race events where the students will get to talk to the Yamaha team riders and technicians. For Brisbane and Gold Coast students Yamaha arranges field visits to boat manufacturers and related business to broaden their understanding of the industry.


  • Helping Yamaha to promote career opportunities to school students.
  • Identifying Students who have a keen interest and those who show an aptitude for a career as a technician. These students are introduced to the dealer network as candidates for an apprenticeship.
  • Providing an avenue for students to interact with business, starting conversations that will help them better understand themselves, the career paths they may be interested in and the “how to” when it comes time for them to enter the work force.
  • Helping the community to help those students who need a little more support and encouragement required as a result of their individual circumstances.

The success thus far has been due in part to the role the Partnership Brokers have played in connecting Yamaha with high schools and employment groups. It is this team effort that  is delivering positive outcomes for students and helping Yamaha to fulfill their objective of increasing the skilled workforce in their dealer network.

A broad range of outcomes have come from Yamaha’s engagement with high schools, including the incorporation of Work Inspiration elements within the program. Yamaha are currently talking with our Motorcycle and Marine industry colleagues to expand this concept on a national level.

The original Yamaha partnership was brokered by CBCC and South West Connect.

Subsequent expansion was supported by The Smith Family.

This partnership is also featured as a case study in the Work Inspiration partnership.