By Callum Ludwig
A young mechanic has finished as the runner-up in Box Hill Institute’s Apprentice of the Year Awards, which were held in Federation Square on Tuesday 21 June.
Thomas Durant is a final-year apprentice at Walkermotive Tyres and Auto in Warburton while he completes his Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology.
Mr Durant said he is passionate about working on cars and has enjoyed a number of tasks like changing engines, gearboxes and clutches.
“I’m definitely glad that I got the opportunity and I was very pleased to work here, especially being so close to home, I was wrapped with that,” he said.
“I’ve learnt so much, the knowledge I have on cars and diagnosing them now is one of the best things from working here and I’ve gotten so much from the guys at Walkermotive.”
Mr Durant was nominated by one of his trade school teachers for the award.
Mr Durant said it was a surprise, but he was glad to be nominated.
“It’s really good to be recognised, and I was really happy with coming runner up, even glad that I got a nomination,” he said.
“I’m really glad Walkermotive gave me the opportunity to work here, I really like working with them, they are good people to work with and really good friends.”
The awards ceremony celebrated winners from a number of categories, with awards for 1st to Final year apprentices, Vocational Student of the Year, Trainee of the Year, School-based apprentice or School-based Education Student of the Year, VCE/VCAL/iVCAL Student of the Year, VETDSS Student of the Year, International Student of the Year (Domestic), International Student of the Year (Offshore), Higher Education Student of the Year, Indigenous Student of the Year and the overall Craig Brittle Student Award.
Mr Durant said he also enjoyed the trade school aspect and encourages apprentices to find opportunities they are passionate about.
“The opportunities to get some trade skills and a learning experience have been really good, and I’ve gotten along with the teachers and students pretty well and have become friends with a lot of the kids in my class,” he said.
“If they are passionate about a job and the job comes up, I’d strongly encourage them to go for it. 1000 per cent I’d definitely encourage them to have a crack at least.”