Production Ute Racing driver and former 3rd Year Automotive Apprentice of the Year, Harrison Barker, shares his story of how he jump started his initial career into the sport.
“The decision to study at TAFE Queensland set the foundation for my love of cars and interest in starting a racing career and this was the best move for me,” said Harrison who commenced his automotive studies with a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation.
“This course is a must for anyone looking at an automotive trade. No matter how young or old you are, it gives you a really good taste of what the trade entails. It has the added benefit of taking a year off your overall apprenticeship certificate III studies, which gives your career a head start.”
TAFE Queensland teachers invest heavily into their students with their knowledge and industry connections. Harrison received a second place in the 2015 biannual WorldSkills competition and was achieving excellent results in his apprenticeship when approached by his teacher with an opportunity to get racing experience.
“In the second year of my apprenticeship my automotive teacher, Glenn Cuthbert, approached me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. With strong links to industry, my teacher knew of an industry partner who sought out students who had skills to make an impact and that’s how I got to work on a client’s race car.”
“Within a matter of weeks I was working on the race car and got to travel to various race tracks around Queensland, and even to Bathurst, and this is where my passion for racing grew stronger,” he said.
After two years of working track side, plus additional workplace integrated learning experience working for the Holden team at the GC 600, Harrison decided it was about time he started working on his own race car — a VU Commodore Ute. He rebuilt major components on the ute that needed to be as reliable as possible when he entered it in the Production Ute Racing series, formally known as Tradie Ute Challenge.
“In my first year of competitive racing I managed to get out front and scored myself a couple of podium finishes,” he said.
Karen Dickinson, General Manager of TAFE Queensland Gold Coast said, “It has been great to see a past graduate come back to TAFE and support current students by giving them the opportunity to work with his crew and gain the necessary hands on skills in this field.”
“The current students are learning different facets of the trade, ultimately helping them decide which direction they want to go in, if not already on their chosen career path,” she said.
The final round of the Excel Cup 2018 Production Ute Race Queensland series takes place on 3 and 4 November 2018 at Queensland Raceway.
The grassroots level of Production Ute Racing series is a low cost Circuit Racing format which enables motoring enthusiasts from all walks of life to partake in competitive motor-racing. The series facilitates a safe and competitive environment where drivers are able to improve their driving skills.
For more information about a career as an Automotive Mechanic call 1300 308 233 or visit www.tafeqld.edu.au.