Outstanding Finalists Vie For Apprentice Of Year Award

The calibre of the seven finalists vying for HVIA’s 2023 Apprentice of the Year Award shows the future of the Australian heavy vehicle industry is in extremely capable hands

The finalists in the Apprentice of the Year category of HVIA’s National Awards have been revealed.

In what promises to be among most hotly contested award categories, seven of the nation’s top apprentices will compete for the prestigious award.

The winner will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 24 (tickets are available for purchase here).

HVIA Chief Executive Todd Hacking says the calibre of this year’s finalists is simply outstanding.

“Every year we’re blown away by the quality of the nominations for this crucial award category,” he says.

“Not only do this year’s seven finalists boast impressive technical skills, they also stand out for their demonstrated leadership capabilities and ambitions to take on leadership roles within their organisations and the wider industry.

“What this demonstrates is that the future of the heavy vehicle industry is clearly in safe hands.”

Name: Paris Maw
Company: CMV Truck & Bus Albury Wodonga
Region: Southern (Vic, SA, Tas)

Paris Maw embarked on his journey as an apprentice at CMV Truck & Bus Albury/Wodonga in February 2020.

Now in his fourth year, he has become an integral part of the company’s service team, showcasing exceptional dedication and skill.

Furthermore, Paris represented the dealership at the HVIA National Apprentice Challenge, held during the highly anticipated 2023 Brisbane Truck Show. This event served as a platform for showcasing the talent and capabilities of aspiring heavy vehicle mechanics, and Paris’s participation demonstrated his exceptional skills and commitment to his craft.

Paris’s commitment and outstanding performance have not gone unnoticed elsewhere. He was honoured with the esteemed Lindsay Fox Heavy Vehicle Technician Award at the Kanga Institute’s Industry Excellence Awards in 2023. This prestigious accolade recognised his remarkable achievements and expertise in the field. He has also been awarded Apprentice of the Year for the Albury/Wodonga branch two years in a row.

CMV says Paris demonstrates an unwavering commitment to providing outstanding service and a strong desire to assist others.

Additionally, his contagious enthusiasm generates a sense of positivity and inspiration in the workplace, the company adds.

Over the next five years, Paris envisions advancing his career by honing his skills as a technician, while fostering the growth of fellow apprentices.

He aspires to seize the chance to cultivate leadership abilities within a workshop setting, thereby embracing opportunities for personal and professional development.

Name: Riley Watterson
Company: Trucks on the Run
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Riley is a major asset to the Trucks on the Run team. Starting from a difficult situation he has grown as a person and as an apprentice, standing out from the rest as he’s always willing to give anything a go.

He has a wonderful enthusiasm for the job and really likes the challenge of field service and problem solving.

Trucks on the Run says Riley carries knowledge and maturity beyond his years. The growth and mindset change that he has had over his four-year apprenticeship has carried him forward as a person and as a diesel mechanic.

Riley demonstrates a high level of aptitude every day, in the workshop and in breakdown situations.

With limited information, he can work on the fly, diagnose problems and issues, whilst working with few tools. He excels especially when there are problems that are out of scope and not in the normal realm of issues.

What’s more, Riley has gained confidence and the skills to organise jobs, ordering parts, working independently and meeting deadlines for jobs. He has really stepped-up, making decisions and communicating to the office, giving them timelines for jobs, so they can organise the schedules.

He always has time for other apprentices and is always actively helping the other apprentices and likes to pass on the knowledge that he has gained, and he listens and takes on board senior tradesman information and skills.

Riley sees himself in the next five years still working for Trucks on the Run, working his way up to leading hand, and continuing the thrive in field service. His long-term goal is to start his own mobile diesel mechanic business.

Name: Ziyaz Unus
Company: Iveco Group
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Iveco says Ziyaz demonstrates outstanding qualities that set him apart. His unwavering positive attitude, combined with his meticulous adherence to a disciplined routine, makes him a remarkable candidate.

Ziyaz consistently displays respect towards colleagues and superiors, fostering a harmonious work environment. His dedication is evident in his punctuality, arriving early, and going above and beyond to assist his peers.

His thirst for knowledge is truly commendable, as he actively seeks opportunities for further learning, embracing growth and development.

Ziyaz’s commitment to excellence shines through in his work, consistently upholding high standards and producing results that exceed expectations. His enthusiasm to lend a helping hand showcases not only his teamwork skills but also his genuine willingness to contribute to the success of the team.

His journey at the company reflects his exceptional technical growth. When he joined, he displayed a basic understanding of systems. However, through determination and dedication, he has transformed into a proficient technician.

One example of Ziyaz’s technical aptitude is his mastery of complex software. He initially struggled with intricate programs but seized every opportunity to learn. Through countless hours of self-study and hands-on practice, he now navigates these tools with ease. His ability to troubleshoot and resolve intricate technical issues showcases his elevated proficiency.

Ziyaz aspires to take on bigger roles in the company over time, starting with workshop foreman and eventually aiming for the role of a service manager.

To get ready for these positions, he has been spending extra time learning how to be a good service advisor as well as his normal apprentice role. This means showing up early and staying late to really understand how everything works.

Name: Hayden Norup
Company: Robuk Engineering
Region: Eastern Region (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Hayden was one of the first five employees at Robuk. Having never worked in manufacturing before (he was a surveyor), Hayden moved up to rural Queensland with his wife to start his career as a first-year fitter and turner.

Hayden and his wife were so passionate about his new career, they lived in their rooftop tent in a caravan park due to the shortage of rentals. After four months of living in a tent, they finally got a house in rural Queensland next to Robuk’s shed.

Unfortunately, Robuk moved its premises back to Brisbane after six months of opening. Once again, Hayden moved his family to Brisbane, due to his dedication and passion for the job.

From day one, Robuk says Hayden not only demonstrated high technical abilities, but he always had his bookwork/homework completed. In the early days he would stay back and fine-tune his techniques and skills to match that of the qualified tradesmen.

Hayden is a role model and leads by example. If guys are struggling or need a hand, he is always there.

Fast forward to May 2023, and Hayden has completed his apprenticeship, and he is running a team of apprentices. His attention to detail is amazing, and work ethic, dedication and passion is something to be proud of.

Once qualified, Hayden would like to keep gaining experience in leadership positions at Robuk.

His career goal is to start his own subcontracting business, where he can tour around the country with his family, and be able to work on heavy machinery utilising his dual trades.

Name: Brayden Conaghan
Company: Penske Australia
Region: Eastern Region (Qld, NSW, ACT)

When you have managers, customers, and Queensland TAFE (Acacia Ridge campus) singing the praises of your apprentice you know that you are dealing with someone special.

Brayden has a strong passion for the industry, and this became clear at the Brisbane Truck Show this year when he and a fellow apprentice won the Apprentice Challenge in record time and being the only team ever to find the mystery fault.

One of the most impressive attributes of Brayden is his integrity. He takes ownership of any request handed to him and steps up in times of need at a moment’s notice.

Brayden is a fantastic team player and knows the importance of teamwork in any environment, he cares for his fellow work mates, customers, and the business.

Not only did Brayden challenge himself in completing his apprenticeship ahead of schedule he also tested himself in obtaining his recreational pilot’s licence at the same time.

Brayden consistently demonstrates the highest level of technical aptitude in all aspects of the workplace, evidenced through the early completion of his apprenticeship and ability to work self-sufficiently and accurately on jobs. In addition, his ability to work under pressure is also notable.

What’s more, Brayden’s ability to communicate and interact with members of his team at Penske has always been at the highest of standards. Great communication and interaction skills have become a crucial part in his tool kit as he is now in a field service role.

This challenging role sees Brayden using his skills to discuss faults and solutions with customers and peers which allows him to get the issue rectified limiting down time.

Since completing his apprenticeship, Brayden plans to continue to learn and gain as much experience in his current role before progressing into a leadership role such as a leading hand or supervisor position.

Name: Joshua Wells
Company: Royans Brisbane
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Josh joined the Royans Brisbane team as an apprentice heavy vehicle mechanic in 2019 and since his first day has shown unwavering enthusiasm, drive, and thirst for knowledge.

He has always displayed a remarkable ability to absorb new information, adapt to challenges, and is always willing to help and assist other team members whenever needed.

Josh consistently goes above and beyond what is expected, taking ownership of his tasks and responsibilities. He maintains a high level of quality in his work and is driven by a genuine passion for exceeding customers’ expectations and delivering quality completed jobs.

From day one, he displayed a high aptitude for mechanical concepts, quickly demonstrating an understanding of complex systems and troubleshooting with confidence – showcasing his ability to learn quickly and apply new skills, reflecting a level of proficiency beyond his years of experience (especially with his understanding and knowledge of electric vehicles and advanced vehicle safety systems).

What truly sets Josh apart is his collaborative spirit and his exceptional teamwork and leadership qualities. He readily collaborates with others to problem solve, contributes ideas, while also remaining open to adopting other team members ideas and other ways of working.

Within the next five years, Joshua would like to complete another trade (auto electrician) and obtain his MC truck licence.

Longer term he would like to progress to become a team leader and then assistant workshop manager and ultimately workshop manager for Royans Wacol.

Name: Todd Shalders
Company: CMV Truck & Bus
Region: Southern (Vic, SA, Tas)

As a breakdown technician, CMV describes Todd as a team player who has shown he’s punctual and reliable, has great communication skills, is always willing to assist his peers as needed, and shows a willingness to learn and complete all tasks assigned to him in a timely manner.

CMV adds that he has demonstrated an ability to tackle more intricate and challenging tasks and exhibits great workmanship following company policy.

Todd is great at making decisions on the spot to ensure there is no delay for the vehicle to be back on the rood, providing great customer satisfaction.

CMV says it can count on him to get the work done and will be a future leader.


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