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Editions

Students aim for excellence

29 May 2018

Students aim for excellence Image

Three students from Docklands’ Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) will next month compete in Sydney for the right to represent Australia in a trade skills competition.

Benjamin Schutz, Daniel Gavaghan and Amber Gabelich will compete at the 2018 WorldSkills National Championships from June 2-4.

Should they be successful there, they will go on to compete in their trade against the world’s best at the 45th WorldSkills international competition in Kazan, Russia in 2019.

Benjamin will compete in the automotive electrical competition; Daniel in the heavy vehicle section; and Amber will attempt to become the nation’s best vehicle painter.

Benjamin Schutz’s love for cars began at a young age when he started helping his mechanic father in the garage. His positive experience inspired him to embark on a work placement at DC & TM Auto Electrics in Year 10, which soon progressed into a full apprenticeship.

“I’ve always loved working with cars,” he said. “We get to experience a variety of work and there’s a great range of technology that’s coming through with new vehicles.” 

Self-driven by nature, Benjamin worked towards completing his training a year ahead of schedule and is currently at the tail-end of his apprenticeship. 

“Kangan offers competency based training which meant that I could work at my own pace. Teachers were really helpful,” he said. 

“The facilities at the Automotive Centre of Excellence were also fantastic. It’s the best in the state, which is why my employer and I chose to go there.”

Daniel Gavaghan said: “I plan to keep learning and may consider getting into an engine specialisation one day.”

Mainstream schooling was never the right fit for Daniel who knew he would be happier within a more hands-on environment.

“I left school in Year 10 because I wasn’t too interested in its academic focus. I wanted to do something more hands-on. Since I was always interested in trucks and motors, I thought I’d go down the path of being a mechanic,” he said.

“I applied for jobs and was hired as a diesel mechanic apprentice at Kenworth DAF when I was 16. Despite joining the workforce at a young age, I did well pretty quickly.”

“I’m proud of my achievements so far. I’ve been working pretty hard and have stayed focused on all the things I had to do to achieve my goals,” he said.

“I hope to advance to the next stage of the competitions.”

Amber Gabelich said: “The best part about the job is seeing the progress and transformation of the cars that come in, such as old cars getting a respray and smashes that look as good as new once I’m finished.”

“I didn’t do too well in a classroom environment; I just couldn’t sit down for that long,” she shared. “I’ve always loved cars and art, so I decided to do an automotive pre-apprenticeship at Kangan Institute after secondary school and I never looked back.” 

Currently working at G.P. Motors in Bairnsdale, Amber said her on-job learning was well complemented by in-depth training at Kangan Institute’s ACE.

“I’m feeling a bit nervous but also confident as I’ve been practising at work and at TAFE,” she said.  “It’ll be awesome if I could go on to represent Australia.”

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