Mechanical. A Circular Head business and a fourth-year apprentice have been recognised for their automotive contributions at a recent industry awards night in Hobart.
The annual TACC Castrol Motor Industry Awards named 21-year-old Forest man Steven Wessing as the Auto Apprenticeship Mechanical Apprentice of the Year, while Circular Head Motorcycles was named as Motorcycle Dealer of the Year among 17 categories.
Wessing – an apprentice in his fourth year who is employed by TACC and hosted by All Wheels Services – made the trip to Wrest Point Casino with his family and girlfriend for the ceremony on Saturday night, keeping his expectations open.
“You like to go in there thinking you have a chance, but you don’t like to hold your breath,” he said, happily surprised when his name was called out.
“I didn’t know what to do – I just put my jacket on and walked up there.”
Wessing completed Grade 11 at Circular Head Christian School before moving straight into his apprenticeship, having held an interest in fixing mowers from an early age.
He believes he is “learning all the time” with the hands-on experience, knowing that business owners Chris and Philippa Gray are always available to “point you in the right direction”.
“It was really exciting,” Mrs Gray said of hearing the news after the couple returned from an overseas trip. “We were thrilled to bits when we got a text saying he’d won.”
Meanwhile, Circular Head Motorcycles owner Michael Sheehan was equally proud to have taken out an award from the state body, pointing to the contributions of each of his staff as a vital “link in the chain”.
“This [award] was out of the blue,” Mr Sheehan said. “We don’t want it to come across as an individual thing – it’s a team thing.”
With 310 people attending on the awards night, TACC general manager Malcolm Little said 14 businesses were recognised for their “high achievement”, judged on a number of elements including customer service, presentation and OH&S.
In the case of the three apprentice categories, he said the TACC appreciates the efforts of host businesses in mentoring them throughout their journey.
“We help the apprentice and the employer by having a mediator [available] so that it works well,” he said. “We’ll continue to support the industry in your area.”
The awards were sponsored by TasTafe (Auto Apprenticeship Mechanical Apprentice of the Year) and carsales.com.au (Motorcycle Dealer of the Year).