Committed to auto industry
WHEN it comes to a passion for motor mechanics, Rodney's Engineering owner Brendan Randall's two apprentices certainly fit the bill.
Angus Munro's steely-eyed commitment to the automotive industry landed him first place in the Northern Region WorldSkills Automotive Mechanics' competition, held recently at Wollongbar TAFE.
He will now go on to contest the national arena against apprentices from all over Australia in Perth next September.
Working as a second year apprentice at Rodney's Auto Engineering's new premises in Barker St, he was joined on the podium by his workmate, fellow second year apprentice Zane Rankin who placed second in the event.
The event organisers from TAFE selected the competitors and set up an expert judging panel drawn from industry to assess the competitors' skills against strict criteria.
The competitors had to complete various tasks in a set timeframe. The tasks included engine diagnostics and tune, cooling system inspection service and report, brake system inspection, cam belt replacement and a vehicle maintenance check.
Automotive head teacher Graham Armstrong said the competitors produced high quality results and the judges were impressed with their skills.
"I'd say their success had a lot to do with their commitment to the industry," he said. "They're willing to put themselves out there."
Both apprentices have been tinkering with spanners since they were small children, and learned the trade standing next to their fathers.
For Angus, his first tinker was an old, grey, Ferguson tractor on his parents' farm at Ellangowan-Yorklea. From there he progressed to working on his paddock basher, an old Ford Escort.
For Zane Rankin, his first memory involved working on a chainsaw his beekeeper father used to access his hives.
"I've always been interested in small engines," he said.
Together the pair work on a variety of vehicles at the Barker St workshop. And when they have free time they act as pit crew with the Rodney's Engineering sprint car.
According to Brendan, who bought the business from Neil Cox six years ago and relocated in Barker Street, his two apprentices are "a lot better than some of the qualified guys".