My name is James McCulloch. I am currently a 3rd year Panel Beater apprentice with MBQ Autobody in Brisbane, and I’m working towards my Certificate III in Automotive Body Repair Technology.
I had the privilege of being awarded a scholarship, which allowed me to travel to the United States, and visit Los Angeles in California. It was there that I got to experience what life was like for an American Mercedes-Benz technician. During my trip, I spent a few days at the Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz dealership.
When I first got there, I was introduced to many of their friendly staff. I was then partnered up with another young apprentice from their team named Anthony. He gave me a tour of the multiple showrooms and the workshop which boasts a large team, comprising seven smaller teams with ten members each. There was also a quick service team downstairs, a diagnostics team and a large sales and management team. The dealership had three show rooms and a delivery room where new cars are delivered to customers. With the support of Anthony, I was able to observe and learn about daily activities and see what life was like as an apprentice and technician in the United States. Anthony has worked for Mercedes-Benz for just under two years. Before joining Mercedes-Benz’ team, he spent time in College studying the automotive industry.
While in California, I got to experience some of the sights. I visited the Petersen Automotive Museum which displays cars from multiple movie sets such as Star Wars, Blade Runner and Back to the Future. They also display many Mercedes-Benz heritage vehicles in the vault located underneath the museum, as well as vehicles owned by influential figures of society such as the Pope. One-of-a-kind vehicles were likewise on display in the vault, such as the Custom. I also had the opportunity to visit the California Science Centre where I observed the space shuttle called the Endeavour. Towards the end of my trip, I spent the day at Universal Studios where I was able to watch multiple shows and go on some rides. Among this, I enjoyed many American restaurants, In-N-Out Burger becoming my favourite.
Overall, this experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am extremely grateful for. I would like to say a massive thank you to WPC Group and all of the wonderful people that helped facilitate this trip, as well as the staff from Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz for making their workshop feel like home.