My name is Chris Krklinski, and this is my experience of being awarded the W.R Galvin OAM International Scholarship to Study Vocational Excellence.
I am currently completing my Certificate III Light Vehicle apprenticeship at AMG Sydney and TAFE NSW. Being awarded my scholarship by LSH Auto Australia and WPC Group has established within myself that my hard work and dedication is not going unnoticed.
In February 2020 I flew to the United States to get an insight into life at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Louisville, Kentucky. I spent my first day in Los Angeles, California, meeting with two other WPC Group apprentices from Brisbane. We spent the day with Nicholas Wyman (WPC Group CEO) and Ervin Dimeny (Projects Vice President) visiting various places in Los Angeles, such as the California Science Centre and the Petersen Automotive Museum both breathtaking experiences.
The remainder of my trip was spent in Louisville, accompanied by Ervin. I cannot be more thankful to him for guiding me through what was my first experience traveling overseas alone. I spent three days at Mercedes-Benz Louisville, which was a truly great experience. When I first got to the dealership, I was taken on a tour of the facility. The condition of the dealership was very impressive and is a great environment for customers to bring their vehicles to.
While at the dealership, I was able to meet many employees in both the service and sales side of the dealership. It was great to talk to them about the brand which we love so much, and I was amazed to see firsthand that on the other side of the world, someone was completing the same job as I do back home. In the workshop I was privileged to meet two experienced and knowledgeable technicians: Jay Harley and Chris Seagle. We all had a great time, sharing our experiences and knowledge about Mercedes-Benz.
I also enjoyed meeting younger technicians, and had some great conversations with them regarding how they started in the trade. It was very interesting to compare how the American apprenticeship system differs from the Australian one. It was good to learn how they carry out the theory and practical side of their work, and the similarities and differences to the system implemented in Australia.
To celebrate the amazing month of February that Mercedes-Benz Louisville had in both sales and service, a dinner was held at the local tavern. I was privileged to be invited to attend the evening. The night consisted of socialising with all the employee sat the dealership.
I spent the last few days of my trip visiting various places in Louisville. Ervin and I had a great time visiting iconic places such as the Corvette Museum, Churchill Downs, the Toyota production line, Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and the State Capitol. It was nice to spend the last few days with Ervin as we had similar interests and I am very thankful for him welcoming me to the United States.
I would like to give a huge thank you to WPC Group and LSH Auto Australia for this amazing opportunity. The entire trip was well planned from start to finish, and my mentor Nicole and other WPC Group employees were always available to answer any questions I had. I am extremely grateful for the people I have met, and the knowledge I have gained and been able to share with others. I think that this is a great award to offer apprentices and gives people like myself something to work towards and keeps the motivation going.