Jacob Gonzalez and Michael Dilkes of Greenslopes Auto Electrical in Brisbane

Jacob Gonzalez is MTAQ’s Student of the Month for July. The 22-year-old, second-year auto electrical apprentice, working with Greenslopes Auto Electrical in Brisbane, has overcome significant adversity throughout his apprenticeship. However, despite a tough personal battle with anxiety and depression that has been so severe that he was, at one time, unable to leave his home, he has battled through and is now enjoying considerable success, proving to be a truly outstanding apprentice and highly-valued employee.

“Jacob has to overcome a disability that would see most people just give up and stay in bed,” said MTA Institute trainer Paul Tugwell.
“I have trained Jacob for just a year and in that time I have seen a marked improvement in him. He has not only overcome this disabling condition, but has proven to be an exceptional student with the knowledge of a 4th-year apprentice.

“His dedication to his employer and their customers is top-notch. All his work is completed to a very professional standard and he always has a great attitude.”

Initially commencing his mechanical apprenticeship with Holden, Jacob obtained employment with Greenslopes Auto Electrical after being given the task of delivering parts to the business. It was through this arrangement that Jacob was able to build good rapport with workshop owner Michael Dilkes – a relationship that has blossomed and seen Jacob become a most trusted work colleague who has been earmarked to take over the business at some point in the future.

“I suffer really quite badly from anxiety and depression, and for a long time I was too afraid to leave the house,” said Jacob. “I was unemployed, alone, and completely unsure of what my future held at one point.

“Taking a bit of down-time, and confidently getting back into the work I love has been beneficial in overcoming some of my setbacks.

“My work has always stood by and supported me and, once I am qualified in two years, if everything goes to plan, Michael wants me to take over the business.

“I practically run the place half the time,” he added. “Michael is always in-and-out, so I run the shop, take all the calls and set appointments, handle the business and sort everything out. It’s not going to be a huge leap taking over, except for learning how to invoice and manage bills and cash-flow.

“I am really excited to give it a go once I am done, and my apprenticeship and training through MTA Institute is setting me up for that.”

When asked about what he enjoys most about his auto electrical apprenticeship, Jacob highlighted his training sessions with Paul as well as the challenges he faces with every different job that comes into the shop.

“Paul has taught me a lot since I started here, and he’s the master when it comes to anything related to electric vehicles and diagnostics. This is an industry that’s going to be pretty big in the future as more cars become electric or hybrid, so I am lucky to have access to his expertise.”

With his practical studies making steady progress, Jacob is confident that he is on the right path to overcoming his anxiety and depression and says he is ready to assume ownership of the business once he completes his apprenticeship.

“I can’t wait to get qualified, and set myself up as the foreman and owner of an established business,” he said. “The automotive industry is tough but rewarding and you’ve always got to make sure the work you’re doing is done properly.”