The 21-year-old Gold Coast mechanic, who trained with the MTA Institute and completed his apprenticeship at the beginning of the year, was presented with the award at the Club’s national rally in Launceston, Tasmania, at the beginning of March.
The national title win follows Andrew’s earlier success in being named as the Club’s Queensland/Northern Territory Zone Apprentice of the Year – one of four regional titles awarded each, the winners being shortlisted for the national award.
After picking up a $1000 Supercheap Auto voucher for winning that Zone award, Andrew took home an altogether more substantial prize for winning the national title – a brand new Honda CBR500R. And it’s a prize that he is looking forward to getting his hands on.
“It is awesome to win,” said Andrew. “It’s a decent motorbike, and it’s all registered and also comes with $1000 of insurance. So it’s pretty much a case of get on it, ride it and enjoy it. I am pretty stoked about that.”
The Ulysses Club flew Andrew down to Tasmania to attend the final few days of their national rally and to be present to receive the award. Andrew said he enjoyed the event, and the company of Club members, so much, he would like to continue to attend the rally in the future.
“They’re really nice, friendly people,” he said. “There were maybe 2500 to 3000 people there and you can start a conversation with anybody because everybody has this common interest in motorbikes. They are great people and I’m looking forward to going again.”
For Paul Ellis, Andrew’s employer at Ellis Race, Trail, Ride, there is real pride in Andrew’s achievement of winning the national award, and also recognition of his qualities as both an apprentice and mechanic and his passion for the job.
“I was stoked for him,” said Paul. “I thought he had a very good chance to win it, and actually I would have been a little disappointed if he didn’t get it. I may teach him things along the way but it really is down to him.”
That’s a view shared by Andrew’s MTAI trainer Ken Rahley, who has had remarkable success with his apprentices, training three past Ulysses Club national award winners.
“I wasn’t all that surprised that Andrew won,” said Ken. “He has a great attitude towards his mechanical career, he wants to stay in the industry and I’d say he may be a shop owner himself one day.
“It’s about the calibre of the student. There is the odd one who comes through who is exceptional and really enjoys what you’re trying to put across to them, really takes it in and moves forward with it.”
And there is no doubt that Andrew enjoys what he is doing and feels honoured to be recognised by the Ulysses Club for doing a job he clearly loves.
“I don’t think you can get any better than this,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest achievements you can realise as a motorbike apprentice. And If I wasn’t actually a bike mechanic I would still be doing this at home! Getting paid is a bonus. It’s not just a job, it’s my passion.”