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Apprentices work alongside shell V-Power racing team

Two aspiring TAFE Queensland light automotive apprentices were gifted a once-in-a-lifetime training experience to work alongside the Shell V-Power Racing Team at the Dick Johnson Racing workshop on the Gold Coast.

Brisbane-based Chelsea Bowers from John Edwards Automotive and Rahul Menon from Sci-Fleet Toyota (Kedron) were the envy of their classmates as they spent a day learning about the skills and preparation required in a professional racing team environment.

The two apprentices were awarded the opportunity after both taking home TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech Light Automotive Apprentice of the Year Awards, an award category supported by Viva Energy.

To the duo’s surprise, legendary race car champion Dick Johnson was also onsite on the day and was happy to meet with the two light automotive enthusiasts.

“We were given a guided tour through the workshop and different facilities and got to work on Fabian Coulthard's ex race car, cutting the wiring out and getting a run through of how it all works. We also got to meet the man himself, Dick Johnson, which was very exciting,” Chelsea said.

“We also got to meet Rob Herrod from Herrod Performance. He was so kind and shared his story and experiences with us.”

“A big takeaway is that anything is possible and there's no limit to what you can and can't do. Anyone can succeed and follow through with their goals if you're committed enough,” she said.

Rahul said it was an amazing experience and that the team was super friendly and ready to teach and mentor them.

“As I entered the workshop I thought I was in heaven. We learnt new things and worked on high power machines. I was also taught TIG Welding which I plan to study; so it was nice getting the experience and being able to try it out,” Rahul said.

“The experience has definitely sparked my interest in the racing field,” he said.

This is the third year that Viva Energy has supported the TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech Apprentice Awards through sponsorship of the Light Automotive award category. This award celebrates those who have shown exceptional achievement within their chosen trade area.

The partnership between TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech and Viva Energy also reaches into the classroom for the broader automotive student base, with Viva Energy providing products and training from its expert team.

TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech General Manager, John Tucker said the partnership with Viva Energy is a great example of how TAFE Queensland is able to connect apprentices to real-world on-the-job training and experiences.

“It is these industry partnerships that enable our apprentices to get the best possible training experience while they complete their apprenticeships. They also highlight the many career paths that are available within the automotive industry,” Mr Tucker said.