Revved-up to be the best
TYRONE Preston, a 19-year-old automotive apprentice from Cumbalum has been named as one of the top seven automotive apprentices in the country in Snap-on Tools Australia's Apprentice of the Year competition.
Mr Preston has been working at K&T Ballina Mechanical for three years and will complete his apprenticeship in 2014.
He left school at the age of 13 without literacy and numeracy skills and before starting in the workshop he had to go back and learn how to read and write.
"That was a big challenge for me to overcome," he said.
"Being a mechanic saved me. I go to TAFE one day a week now and love it because I am learning something useful.
"I like making things work and it's great pulling down a motor and then getting it to run again."
Mr Preston believes his love of mechanics came from his family with all five of his brothers also being involved in the industry.
If Mr Preston wins this year's Snap-on and Street Machine Apprentice of the Year competition he will walk away with over $11,000 in prizes including a great range of tools.
He will also get a ticket to the premium racing event in Australia, the Summernats.
Mr Preston now owns five cars and plans do build up his diesel Navarra Ute to be his dream car.
He advises other young apprentices to stay focused on the prize at the end, which is getting a trade.
"It might seem really tough when you first start out, but it's worth it in the end," he said.
"So just work hard and study hard and always do a bit of outside learning to give you that edge."