MELBOURNE mechanic Bradley Williams always wanted to follow in his father Peter's footsteps and work with engines.
But rather than kick-start his career at the family business, Sheehan Automative in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg West, young Bradley decided to make his own mark instead.
He quickly found his niche with heavy diesel at Winslow Constructors, a role that also helped win him the inaugural Shell Rimula Apprentice of the Year.
In recognition of his efforts, Bradley, 21, received a $500 Shell Coles Express gift card and will also spend a weekend with the Shell V-Power Racing Team at the Sandown 500 in September.
We caught up with Bradley shortly after his win to find out more, and to share his message to others keen to join the next generation of Australian automotive and heavy duty diesel technicians.
How did you get started on this career path?
My family has a strong line of mechanics and I've always loved cars. I decided I wanted to do something mechanical, but something different to working on cars.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
My dad. He's extremely good at what he does and has worked really hard all his life. He's owned his owned business for longer than I can remember, and is the perfect example that hard work pays off.
What's your earliest memory of tinkering with engines?
For as long as I can remember I've been helping Dad in his workshop, either on customers cars or the family drag cars and engines which include a 740hp small block Chev and a 1000hp Big block Chev. I used to go and help every Saturday.
What's your proudest moment so far?
The two best moments are securing my job with a Winslow, surrounded by great people, and also winning my apprentice of the year award.
How did you start with Winslow?
I had a casual job working at Essendon airport working on private jets, and another guy that was working there at the time had previously worked for Winslow. Heavy diesel was something I wanted to try and I liked what he said about Winslow, plus he said they were extremely busy and needed mechanics so I sent in my resume.
Tell us more a bit more about the apprenticeship?
Winslow maintenance maintains a fleet of over 450 machines working in construction. The apprenticeship is four years all together, that includes three years of schooling, and one year of full time work. Every six weeks I spend a week at Kangan Institute to complete my studies. I'm currently in my third year now, so will finish my schooling this year, and complete my apprenticeship towards the end of next year. Once I finish my apprentice I hope to constantly keep learning. I want to try and learn more on engine building and diagnosis, as that's what I'm most passionate about.
How stoked were you to win the Shell prize?
Totally! I didn't expect to win at all. It was a real shock. It's good because I work with Shell products every day.
What's your message to other young blokes thinking of following your lead?
Do as much work experience as you can and find out what you like and what you don't. If it's something you're passionate about just do it, because it makes it so much easier if you love what you do.