Finalists for Capricorn’s Rising Stars Apprentice of the Year award have been selected from the 341 nominations the company received from automotive businesses across Australia and New Zealand.
The top five finalists are:
- Marama Thompson – Auto Super Shoppe Eurotech, New Zealand
- Harrison Oastler – NQ Kool Cars and Kustoms, Queensland
- Jessica Smith – Harris Automotive, Victoria
- Jackson Vogelsang – Fleurieu Crash Repairs, South Australia
- Chelsea Bowers – John Edwards Automotive, Queensland
Brad Gannon, Capricorn CEO Automotive, said the awards showcased the talent and diversity of automotive aftermarket apprentices from sectors including panel and fabrication, automotive electrical, general mechanical, and heavy diesel.
“Unlike other apprentice competitions that focus purely on the technical proficiency of nominees, Capricorn Rising Stars prioritises rewarding apprentices who demonstrate a passion for the automotive industry, a positive can-do attitude, and a strong commitment to forging a long career as a repairer. The unique judging criteria created a level field for first- to fourth-year apprentices across all disciplines. This encouraged Capricorn members to nominate apprentices who demonstrated outstanding character and potential,” Gannon said.
“Completing an automotive apprenticeship is no easy undertaking. The qualified technician shortage highlights how important it is to train the next generation, support our apprentices, and create a pipeline of talent for the future.”
Capricorn said this year’s awards attracted strong female representation, with women making up three of the five finalists for the first time. Smith’s employer, Harris Automotive, said it was impressed by her commitment to her work. “Jessica has definitely shown us that women do belong in the workshop. She puts in 100 per cent and has given us faith that there are still hardworking youth willing to get their hands dirty, learn a trade, and take pride in their work,” the company said.
The five finalists received a $1000 Repco voucher, $1000 in cash from Castrol, and tickets to two Repco masterclasses. The overall winner will also receive an additional $5000 in prize money from Castrol and a Capricorn Rising Stars trophy, while the winner’s workshop will receive complimentary enrolment in the Workshop Whisperer’s Service Advisor Pro online programme.
The winner of the award will be announced in August.