Apprentice of the Month, September 2021: Mitchell Johnston
Mitchell Johnston is the MTA Institute Apprentice of the Month for September 2021.
In fact, Mitchell, at 18 years old, recently completed his light vehicle apprenticeship – training that he started at school when he was just 15.
Clearly talented and passionate about the work, Mitchell has impressed with his work ethic and skills.
“Mitchell has demonstrated focus in training visits, has always complied with requests, and completed training tasks to a very high standard,” said his MTA Institute trainer Scott Buckley. “I have seen Mitchell grow with knowledge and confidence in his light vehicle mechanical trade and I believe he will become a top technician.”
Mitchell works for Cam Duffy Autos in Malanda, Far North Queensland, and started work there as a school-based apprentice.
His family owns a dairy farm and a concrete business, so he grew up around trucks and heavy machinery, helping out where he could and, he said, he ‘loved to get involved’.
While that meant that initially he was interested in becoming a heavy vehicle technician, chances to get an apprenticeship in that trade were limited, so he took the chance to get into the industry and start learning when a light vehicle apprenticeship opportunity emerged at Cam Duffy Autos.
With the business being involved in everything from general vehicle servicing to autoglass to wheel alignments and pretty much everything in between, Mitchell has been able to gain experience across many vehicle maintenance requirements.
“The opportunity was close to home, was in the industry, and doing what I enjoyed,” he said. “And we do a wide variety of work here. We work on passenger vehicles, 4WDs, light trucks, caravans – all sorts of things. There’s quite a variety of work, although I prefer working on older vehicles and engines – anything that is a bit older really.”
As Cam Duffy Autos is also an RACQ Approved Repairer and RACQ Road Service Contractor, Mitchell also gets the opportunity to get mobile.
“I do enjoy getting out on the road doing RACQ work,” he said. “There’s a lot of travelling and having to think on the spot, and I like a challenge.”
Having trained with the MTA Institute and Scott Buckley since the beginning of his apprenticeship, Mitchell said that the Institute’s model of one-on-one training at the student’s place of employment was one that he could readily recommend.
“I didn’t have to travel away for weeks at a time, and it was all done at the workshop,” he said. “You get a lot more time with the trainer and are able to go through things a lot better. The other way of training – when you go away for a time to learn – does mean you get to meet new people and make new contacts, but the Institute training did work well for me.”
While he is now qualified as a light vehicle mechanic, Mitchell, like many young people entering the industry, is aware of the changes in vehicle tech that are on the horizon such as electric vehicles. More training, he said, is likely to feature down the track, and he is keen to follow up on his first interest – heavy vehicle – while gaining plenty of experience at Cam Duffy Autos.
“I’d like to stay here for a few years,” he said. “I am really enjoying it, I really like working with the people here, and I do need to thank Cam and Andrea for giving me the chance at the apprenticeship, and my mum and dad for supporting me.
“I haven’t had a lot to do with electric vehicles, so I’ll see what happens there and adapt to the changes as they happen, but one day I would like to go into heavy vehicle and maybe even have my own mobile heavy vehicle business.”
15 October 2021