Lessons at Northmead High led to life as consumer advocate

Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe said it was his first day at Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School that set him on a course to pursue a career in Fair Trading.

‘‘I was the  archetypal new kid because my family had moved into the district,’’ Mr Stowe said.

‘‘I didn’t know a soul.

‘‘I turned up to the school as a transfer and I was ushered into to the hall.

‘‘I was quite apprehensive like most people are when they start high school.

‘‘Some children and students were already in the hall.

‘‘A chap put up his hand and said to me ‘mate sit here’. I thought this was good, pretty friendly.

‘‘What I didn’t know was the hinge on the seat was broken. So when I went to sit down, I ended up on the floor.

‘‘I told the students that was a couple of important lessons that I learnt in my first few minutes at Northmead.

‘‘One — be careful of who to trust.

‘‘Two — things aren’t always what they seem.’’

Mr Stowe set foot in his former high school for the first in more than 30 years on Wednesday (July 16) for Fair Trading’s Revved Up program.

The program teaches first-time buyers the pros and cons of buying a car and how to avoid unpleasant situations.

Mr Stowe said the program was ‘‘crucial’’ for young people.

‘‘There are a whole lot of pitfalls that kids can fall into if they don’t have the right information,’’ he said.

‘‘We took them through all the things that they need to be aware of when it comes to buying their first car.

‘‘The sorts of costs, insurance, the running cost of the vehicle and is it something you can afford.

‘‘We take them through the whole cost of the vehicle.’’

Vice-captain at the school Dalia Al Haj Qasem, 16, said the program was important to her.

‘‘You don’t realise how much you need to know when it comes to buying your first car,’’ Dalia said.

‘‘Especially because we are young and about to buy cars.’’

Prefect at the school Ashleigh Westwick agreed.

‘‘No one realises how expensive buying a car can be,’’ she said. 

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