Michael Humphries is the MTA Institute Apprentice of the Month for January.

The 24-year-old, third-year light vehicle apprentice has been working at Townsville Offroad Centre for four years under the guidance of his brother and business owner Roger Humphries, and his MTA Institute trainer Guy Mckenzie.

Impressing with his dedication to the job, Guy said Michael’s skills are second to none.

“Michael works very hard and he is brilliant on the tools – better than many tradesmen I have met,” said Guy. “I wish I had him as a mechanic when I had my own business for 12 years.”

Proof of Michael’s ability lies in the work he is accomplishing. He has just completed a complete engine and transmission conversion on a Nissan Navara – converting it from a diesel to a supercharged LS3 V8 – and that work included firewall modifications, fabrication of all engine and gearbox and cab mounts as well as suspension modifications and the exhaust system. He is now working on a 6-wheel conversion for another customer.

Michael said that working in the trade, and particularly on 4WDs, was always on the cards and there was plenty about the work that he enjoyed.
“I always liked 4WDs. I used to go four-wheel driving with my family a lot so I’ve been around them all my life.

“The Navara was probably the biggest job I have ever done and that turned out pretty well,” he added. “And I enjoy the fabrication work – that is sort of my area in the workshop.”

It’s not the only area though. While still at school on the Sunshine Coast, Michael took on a spray-painting apprenticeship and he still gets to practice those skills he learnt.
“I do still get to use those skills – on intercoolers and bonnet scoops and so on – so I do get to keep my hand in every now and again.”

When Michael finishes his light vehicle apprenticeship he will be a dual-qualified tradesman – a solid grounding for anyone wanting to take on ownership responsibilities in the industry. And Michael looks set to do just that. Already taking over the running of the shop when his brother is away, Michael is set to take over for good in the next couple of years.

“My brother is moving up to the Tablelands in the next couple of years and, at that point, I will take over the business,” said Michael. “That’s the plan.”