Will Rudd is the MTA Institute Apprentice of the month for October 2017.
The 32-year-old, third-year panel beating apprentice is not new to the apprenticeship game – a stint in the construction industry a few years ago saw him qualify as a carpenter. It’s a skill he has been able to use for some coachbuilding work while also learning his new trade at Sleeping Beauties, a classic car restoration business based in Brisbane.
A hard worker with a desire to get the job done right, Will has impressed his trainer Alfio Rotolone with the breadth of the work he does and his eye for detail.
“The work they do at Sleeping Beauties is remarkable,” said Alfio. “They rebuild and restore old cars and Will has done everything from small dents to major modifications to help bring those cars back to their original condition.”
Always interested in cars, Will started a diesel mechanic apprenticeship at school, but circumstances would conspire to see him move into construction and became a carpenter. However, that career was cut short too when his father became sick.
“My father was terminally ill and I became his full-time carer,” said Will. “I looked after him for a year-and-a-half until he passed and I decided then that I wanted to go back and do what I always wanted, which was to work with cars.”
Taking it upon himself to knock on the door of just about every shop from the Gold Coast to Brisbane to get back into automotive, Will struck gold with Sleeping Beauties, where he works on stunning cars with some highly-skilled tradespeople.
“The day I started we were working on a 1913 Vulcan,” he said with a laugh. “Everything is done in-house and there are some great tradesmen here who I can learn from. We don’t do normal work here. It’s more of a craft – a dying art that I am lucky to be learning. I absolutely love it.
The Gold Coast 600. It’s the 13th event on the Supercars calendar and one of the most spectacular. Raced along the streets of Australia’s playground city, the thunder of V8 engines echoes off the high-rises that line the track and 200,000 fans flood the race venue to enjoy racing that is always wickedly quick and highly competitive. This year, to add to the fun, the Supercar circus included support category racing that included rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula 4, Aussie Racing Cars and V8 Utes.
Taking place from the 20th to the 22nd October, this year’s GC600 was a special one for MTA Queensland as three of the nominees for the MTA Institute Apprentice of the Year award – Elliott Lemmon, James Corbett and Corby Marshall – were able to attend the Friday practice day, experience a tour of the 888 Race Engineering Team Vortex pit garage and get to meet and chat with the team’s star driver, Craig Lowndes.
Organised by team sponsor and MTA Queensland corporate partner MTAA Super, it was a fantastic experience for the nominees and meeting Lowndes – a trained mechanic himself – was a highlight.
Following the Team Vortex tour, the nominees were free to enjoy the rest of the entertainment the GC600 had to offer and take advantage of the passes they had been awarded as part of their Apprentice of the Year nomination prize.
For the record, Chaz Mostert and Steve Owen of Supercheap Auto Racing took out Race One of the GC600 in their Falcon FG/X while Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Premat secured Race Two honours. The results left Jamie Whincup of the Red Bull Racing Team, who came in 6th in Race One and 2nd in Race Two, in the championship lead.
On November 19, 2016, at the MTA Queensland’s President’s Ball held in the elegant surrounds of the Hilton Brisbane, 20-year-old Jamahl Byrne was named MTA Institute’s Apprentice of the Year.
Waiting for the winner to be announced that night was, Jamahl said at the time, a nerve-wracking experience.
“I was trying to contain my heartbeat to be honest,” he said. “It went from stable to a million miles an hour!”
A standout apprentice described as ‘passionate’, ‘driven’ and with potential to be a ‘great ambassador for the industry’, it was a well-deserved win for the young tradesman who had recently completed his light vehicle apprenticeship and taken up a technician’s role at Hansen Ford and Mareeba Toyota in Mareeba, near Cairns.
12 months on from that night and Jamahl has not rested on his laurels. The determination to succeed that marked him as a special talent as an apprentice is paying dividends as a tradesman and at the tender age of 21 he is already a diagnostic master technician often charged with running the workshop, and is on the cusp of completing Toyota and Ford training programs that will see him become a master technician for both brands.
While it is likely that he was always destined to succeed, winning the Apprentice of the Year award had the effect of highlighting to him the benefits of a having a passion for your job and the willingness to work hard.
“It was an accolade I didn’t expect,” he said. “And, on a personal level, it reminded me of how much work I had done, what I could achieve, and how much I should continue to strive to be better.”
It’s an attitude that he hopes the new 2017 Apprentice of the Year will recognise too.
“He obviously worked hard and has done a lot to be nominated and to win the apprentice of the year award,” said Jamahl. “The only advice I can offer is to continue to work hard.
“The award does have an effect on you personally and people do look at you as someone who can achieve at a higher level. So, my advice is to keep pushing and don’t stop. You’ve got to where you are because you are good at what you do – keep trying to be better.”
Elliott Lemmon, a light vehicle apprentice with Greg Tunstall Mechanical in Ormiston, near Brisbane, is the MTA Institute Apprentice of the Year for 2017.
Presented with the award at the MTA Queensland President’s Ball, Elliott said it was a great honour to win the accolade and an awesome and surreal experience.
“It was an amazing evening,” he said. “I was feeling good but my heart was certainly pumping just before the announcement! And when they did say my name, I certainly was shocked.”
Receiving the award from Craig Lowndes was a special moment for Elliott. As a motorsport fan, meeting Lowndes was a highlight of the evening, even if he can’t remember too much of the moment,” To be honest, I can’t really remember what I said or what happened on stage. Craig said congratulations but the rest is mostly a blur,” he said with a laugh. “He is someone I have looked up to for a long time and meeting him in person was inspirational.”
Attending the Ball with Elliott were a throng of supporters – his mum and dad, his boss Greg Tunstall, his supervisor Andrew Avis and wife Rhiannon, and his girlfriend Chelsea – and things got a little emotional once he returned to the table.
“Mum was crying, and Dad, who isn’t an emotional person, had a few tears in his eyes too. They were very proud!”
Proud too, sums up the reaction from Elliott’s boss, Greg Tunstall, who took Elliott on as an apprentice nearly four years ago and knew immediately that he was a pretty special recruit.
“When I first interviewed Elliott I could tell he had the right credentials,” said Greg. “He was already building his own car, he was a nice guy, clean cut, well spoken, had common sense and the right personality to fit into the shop,” And these, said Greg, are prerequisites to work at Greg Tunstall Mechanical.
“We’re not a normal mechanical shop,” he said. “We specialise in Land Rovers and old English cars – and that work on old English cars means we can deal with customers who are a bit eccentric! We’re working on their ‘babies’, so there’s often a lot of customer interaction. As Elliott knows, it’s not always about being a mechanic – you need to be able to talk to clients, figure out what they want and look after them – there’s a lot to it.”
Elliott has been living and breathing cars for years, tinkering with all things mechanical since he was a child. That passion has seen him experiment with his own cars, race karts, work with motorsport teams, become a member of the MTAQ Racing Team Support Crew and become a valued part of the Greg Tunstall Mechanical team.
“He has real enthusiasm and dedication,” said Greg. “He could talk about cars until the sun goes down, is involved in everything and really wants to learn new skills all the time.”
That commitment to learning shone through in his training and makes Elliott a pleasure to teach said James Dixon, his MTA Institute trainer.
“Teaching someone like Elliott makes my job easier. He is someone who is really passionate, asks lots of questions and is just a sponge who thrives on that information,” he said. “Sometimes you forget he is a student. He has a maturity about him way beyond his years and I think he will be a great role model and pass on those skills to apprentices he may take on himself down the track.”
With the title of Apprentice of the Year now his, Elliott has the pleasant task of deciding what to do with the $2000 and $250 travel voucher he received as part of the award prize.
“I think I’ll put that $2000 towards saving for a house. Every little bit helps,” he said. “And I’ll take a trip down to Melbourne too – I haven’t been there before.”
Other than that, for the moment, he said, it was back to work and that was just fine, “I have to worry about my books again and concentrate on finishing my apprenticeship,” he said. “I have three modules left and am looking to finish early next year. I’m still learning and will still be learning once I have finished my apprenticeship. But this is not really a job, I love what I do – I think I am pretty addicted!”
MTA Institute (MTAI) is thrilled to see our grade 12 AccelR8 students successfully completed a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preperation.
The students who came from all around the South-East metropolitan region recently celebrated the completion of their Certificate II at a graduation ceremony held for AccelR8 students.
Over the past school year, a number of grade 12 students with a passion for automotive made the decision to enter adult life with a qualification under their belt, and a step in the door of the automotive world. As part of their Certificate II, the students completed one day a week in a mechanical shop for the duration of the course, and did their theory in blocks throughout the year at Ipswich Trade Centre, located at Ipswich State High School and the Sir Jack Brabham Automotive Centre of Excellence, the home of MTA Institute.
MTAI trainer Steve Hudspith said. “The students showed a huge amount of dedication to their study and they have proved themselves very capable of working in automotive should they choose to take that path.
“If fact, several of the students have already lined up apprenticeships when their school year finishes and this can definitely be attributed to the completion of the Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation completed through MTAI.”
Following the closure of Toyota and Holden factories and the subsequent end to mass car-manufacturing in Australia, analysts have predicted a reduction of 13,000 jobs in the automotive workforce, with 7,000 related directly to car manufacturing and a further 6,000 losses across tier one and tier two components.
According to the report Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: An industry report 2017 released by the Australian State and Territory Motor Trades Associations and Chambers of Commerce, that although the motor trades are lacking skilled workers, there is still plenty of opportunity connected to future manufacturing.
The sectors for manufacturing of specialist vehicles, buses, trucks and trailers is growing and is considered quite buoyant, successfully holding up employment levels in that space.
In addition to this, with the rise of uptake in electric and autonomous vehicles, many new opportunities will present themselves, including the production of hybrid/electric and autonomous vehicles and their components.
The MTA Institute is proud to be leading the way in training and is already facilitating learning opportunities for hybrid and electric vehicles; a skill which will be highly sought after in the future automotive world. MTA Institute is very optimistic about the direction that the automotive industry is heading and the breadth of opportunities available to current and future apprentices choosing to work in the motor trades.
Over the past four years the MTA Institute (MTAI) have had the great pleasure of welcoming international students from Daejeon, South Korea to the Sir Jack Brabham Automotive Centre of Excellence.
This year six students who are studying in Australia through Smart Education Training Australia (SETA); will take part in a seven week placement with MTAI which is part of a 12 week international program.
During the seven weeks the students, who all have a passion for the automotive industry, will complete a Certificate I in Automotive Vocational Preparation which consists of three weeks at the MTAI Centre of Excellence, three weeks work experience with Hyundai Keema at Mount Gravatt, and a final week back at the Institute.
Hyundai Keema, a long standing member of the Motor Trades Association of Queensland, is incredibly supportive of the international relationships MTAI has developed with the students from South Korea and provide an extremely valuable opportunity to complete work experience at their location on the southside of Brisbane.
Paul Kulpa, General Manager of MTAI said, “Our relationship with Hyundai Keema and their enthusiasm in teaching and educating our international students through this three week work experience placement is really beneficial for the Daejeon students.
“The fact that they have a chance to work in a busy and vibrant workshop will give them a genuine taste for the automotive industry and MTAI are thrilled to be able to facilitate this and complete the program by issuing the students with a Certificate I in Automotive Vocational Preparation. The MTA Institute has long been the RTO of choice for SETA’s Daejeon students due to the real world experiences offered through the placement.”
On Saturday the 28th of October, MTA Queensland hosted the 2017 President’s Ball, hosted by the extraordinarily entertaining Shane Jacobson, and featuring special guest Craig Lowndes.
The evening was particularity big for Elliott Lemmon, who was announced as the MTA Institute 2017 Apprentice of the Year.
Elliott, who is a fourth year completing a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology at Greg Tunstall Mechanical in Ormiston won a $2000 cheque, an opportunity to work with Triple Eight Race Engineering and many other prizes along with the prestigious title of Apprentice of the Year.
MTA Institute commends Elliott on his wonderful effort throughout the year, his dedication to his apprenticeship and his extra-curricular activities in motor sport including spending a great deal of time and effort assisting as part of the MTA Queensland Racing Team crew.
A huge congratulations to the other seven nominees who were all incredibly deserving of their nomination and are winners in their own right, having been nominated out of 1500 students Queensland wide.
The MTA Institute Apprentice of the Year runners up included:
Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Auto Giant, Brendale
Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Townsville Offroad Centre, Townsville
Certificate III in Automotive Body Repair Technology, ACM Autobody through Group Training Organisation All Trades Queensland, Brisbane
Certificate III in Motorcycle Mechanical Technology, Morgan Motors, Emerald
Certificate III in Automotive Refinishing Technology, Bill Dingle Smash Repairs, AYR
Certificate III in Motorcycle Mechanical Technology, Coastal Farm and Motorcycles, Innisfail
Certificate III in Motorcycle Mechanical Technology, D&R Motorcycles, Roma
If you’re a licensed motor dealer it’s very important to note that you no longer have the option to sell cars privately.
When you become a licensed motor dealer, every used car you sell is subject to your licensed conditions and the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014 regardless of whether it’s for profit, a favour for a friend or your own private car.
MTA Institute encourages all licensed motor dealers to ensure they are working within the law and in the guidelines of the Act which states that any activity which you are authorised to perform in relation to your license is considered to be an activity of a motor dealer.
In addition to this you must also disclose to a potential buyer or seller that you’re a licensed motor dealer, have them signed a written acknowledgement and perform all the related tasks set out in the Act.
Penalties issued by the Office of Fair Trading to motor dealers failing to meet this obligation have ranged from losing their motor dealer licence to fines up to $110,000.
MTA Institute offers nationally accredited motor vehicle dealer training courses online, which means you can complete it at any time or place.
In accordance with the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014, all motor dealers (individual and corporate) must be licensed to work in Queensland. Click here for more information.