Certificate III in Automotive Body Repair Technology

From accidental trade to a crash hot career

Jade McSorley has come a very long way from being someone who didn’t know what panel-beating was to someone recognised as being best in the panel-beating trade.

Jade started out in life wanting to be a fitter/machinist like his Dad, but couldn’t find an apprenticeship anywhere. After 18 months of searching and knock-backs while doing two part-time jobs, an ad in the local paper for a panel-beating apprentice was the opening he needed.

“I didn’t know what panel-beating was but I applied anyway,” said Jade. “I didn’t hear anything for six weeks, so I made a phone call to the business. I was told to come in for a two-day trial and started a week later.”

As a panel-beater at Welch’s Highway Smash in Lithgow NSW, Jade is in his element. “It’s been absolutely the right thing for me,” he said. “I’d always been interested in cars and there’s heaps of variety—no two cars are the same and there’s a lot of scope to move into other things like engineering down the track. In the immediate future, though, I’m keen to do a Certificate II in Motor Sport Technology. That will see me going to lots of different race meets and I’ll be part of the pit crew, being challenged to do technical engineering work under pressure.”

Pressure is something that Jade seems to thrive on. Marked out as a rising star by his teacher at TAFE, he was asked if he would compete in the 2016 WorldSkills National Competition. Jade politely declined, thinking he ‘wasn’t good enough.’ But when his boss intervened, telling Jade that if he didn’t give it a go he’d regret it, Jade reluctantly agreed.

“I was amazed to be successful in the first round and went to the national competition thinking that I wouldn’t be too crash hot—but if I came eighth in Australia out of eight competitors maybe that wouldn’t be too bad. I just tried to block out the pressure of the competition so it became like another day at work. I couldn’t believe it when I won the Gold Medal. I’m really glad my TAFE teacher and boss pushed me to do WorldSkills—it was a fantastic experience!”

Jade says he would never have believed when he started out that he’d end up doing something he loves. “Although I fell into my trade by accident, I can’t imagine doing anything else now. I can see myself in the future having my own workshop and thanks to my apprenticeship that’s not an impossible dream.”

If you are interested in an Australian Apprenticeship and how to get started, download An Australian Apprenticeship - Endless Career Possibilities brochure or contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

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