WPC Group Automotive apprentice Fearghus Von Prott, 20, working at Mercedes-Benz Sydney, a part of the LSH Auto Australia, says he was humbled by the decision of WPC Group to award him with a cultural and career development scholarship to tour the United States.
Fearghus will be winning the W.R Galvin OAM International Scholarship to Study Vocational Excellence, which was established in 2018 to recognize Tourism Training Australia’s CEO, William ‘Bill’ Galvin OAM. Mr. Galvin commenced his career in Commercial Catering and Food and Beverage Management with Federal Hotels Australia. He joined the Hilton International chain of Hotels-accepting appointments in Vancouver and Montreal, Canada. In 1970 he accepted further positions in London and later completed further assignments in France and Holland. Bill had a passion for youth, apprenticeships, and vocational Training.
Joining Fearghus to travel to the United States in September 2018 are two other WPC Group apprentices from Melbourne and Brisbane who will also win the international scholarship. Bianka Chiodo from Mercedes-Benz Melbourne and Mikaela Lawrence from Mercedes-Benz Brisbane.
Fearghus’ interest in the automotive industry sparked when he was in grade 10 playing around with an old car. He says “it was interesting finding out how it all works, it got me thinking of doing an apprenticeship like my older brother who is also an apprentice at Mercedes-Benz.”
Growing up in Nowra, Fearghus tried to secure an Apprenticeship locally, but there were no vacancies. Fearghus relocated to Sydney where there are more opportunities and has been adjusting to city life, he says “I’ve had to rapidly become independent”.
Fearghus was weary about starting an apprenticeship as he was under the impression that apprenticeships were a thing of the past. This is not an unusual opinion to hold, in fact, 59% of Australians think that we need University more than VET education. While nearly half of them suggested that VET is no longer as relevant as university (47%). The fact is that VET courses have adapted more readily to changing workforce needs. According to the Commonwealth Government Department of Employment, the VET sector currently provides training courses for 9/10 occupations predicted to have the greatest growth of new jobs over the next 5 years. (Department of Employment, 2016, Australian Jobs 2016).
He found out for himself how useful a VET sector education is and is now about to head off on a trip of a lifetime to the United States.
Nathan Ellery, the NSW State Manager of WPC Group and also Fearghus’ Mentor commented on Brisbane Mercedes-Benz’s strong commitment to apprenticeships and youth pathways.
“Mercedes-Benz Sydney has a strong commitment to developing our staff and supporting apprenticeship programs and Fearghus is a great example of how they’re investing in young talent.”
Paul Lazzaro, Service Manager, and Mercedes-Benz Sydney remarked that the support that he received from WPC Group has been extremely helpful.
“Fearghus is a graduate of the Citi New Recruits program as are many of our apprentices and trainees and it is great that we are able to work with Skilling Australia’s- Citi New Recruits and WPC Group to give him this amazing opportunity in recognition of his dedication to his training and career.”
The purpose of this scholarship is to see first-hand how Mercedes-Benz America approach skills in the area of automotive which will benefit their knowledge and development. They will bring back an experience that they can share with others in their workplace.
The scholarship has been awarded every year since 2016 and is funded by the Workplace Institute through Skilling Australia Foundation, the philanthropic arm of WPC Group. Skilling Australia Foundation bridges the gap between unemployment and a meaningful career for disadvantaged young Australians.
The Workplace Institute will provide each apprentice:
- Mercedes-Benz branded uniforms and protective equipment
- Cover the costs of all flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, and insurances.
Fearghus says it’s important to work hard, still have a positive attitude at the end of the day and be keen to come back. He has some sound advice for other apprentices, “go in with a good attitude. Show the employer you are willing to learn new things on a daily basis”.
Since 2000 , WPC has placed 266 apprentices and trainees with host employer, Mercedes-Benz Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland. Most of them do light vehicle apprenticeships, but there are also business trainees and apprentices focusing on spare parts and spray painting
WPC Group could get you into gear for a rewarding apprenticeship with luxury car dealer, Mercedes-Benz Melbourne, Sydney or Queensland, a member of LSH Auto Australia. You’ll need to be serious though, as competition is turbo-charged. For more info, visit https://www.wpcgroup.org.au/lsh-mercedes-australia/.