Chelsea Bowers from John Edwards Automotive in Geebung, Queensland has been named the 2023 Capricorn Rising Star.
Bowers won a $5,000 cash prize from Castrol and a Capricorn Rising Stars Trophy, while John Edwards Automotive received a 12-month Repco Autopedia subscription and enrolment in the Workshop Whisperer’s Service Advisor Pro online programme.
Brad Gannon, CEO Automotive at Capricorn, said Bowers was selected from more than 550 apprentices nominated by Capricorn member businesses across Australia and New Zealand. “This competition highlights the importance of apprentices to the Australian and New Zealand automotive aftermarket industries. The competition also seeks to encourage new talent to join the industry, ultimately generating more qualified automotive repairers to ensure the industry’s continued future growth and strength. Big thanks to our members who nominated their talented apprentices along with award sponsors Castrol, Repco, and The Workshop Whisperer, who made this competition possible,” said Gannon.
Bowers said that coming from a humble workshop accelerated her growth and provided “great benefits” as an automotive apprentice.
“Being in a small workshop, I feel as though I’m very involved and included in my work for any job that comes along. I like to put myself out of my comfort zone and choose to do difficult jobs so I can learn quickly and accurately. I also do a lot of external training outside of work hours that can help improve my knowledge and confidence. I like to network on behalf of my workplace so I can expand my people skills and get comfortable talking to people, so I can communicate with my customers at work on a more personal and relatable level,” she said.
“I love that every day is a different challenge and a different opportunity to learn something new. Something that keeps me going when times get difficult, is thinking about how far I’ve come in my journey and how I can use my story to inspire the next generation of people looking to get into the automotive trade. I’m very grateful to be in a positive workplace that appreciates me, and we can all get along and help each other out with anything.”
Bowers’ goal is to own her current workplace and closely mentor apprentices. “My long-term goals that accompany this vision [are] running hands-on workshops at schools, teaching basic car maintenance and safety, as well as encouraging students to consider a trade in automotive as their first career option post-school. I am very passionate about the next generation of tradies who will soon dominate the industry. I look forward to continuing to break the stigma of what the image of a mechanic looks like in people’s minds,” she said.
Sam Lawson, owner of John Edwards Automotive, said Bowers is an advocate for women in trades and serves as an inspiration for future generations.