Steve Kartsaklis has been working on engines for 25 years. He has stayed on in the industry because making engines work is part of his very being.
His passion for the trade and satisfaction in a job well done was what he was looking for in an apprentice he believed would be capable of taking over from him when he decides to step down from his role at St Leonards Automotive and Marine. That apprentice, turned out to be Dean Smith.
Offering a career path that will lead to managing the business is great motivation for an apprentice to complete his qualification according to Rebecca Wright from MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre. Mrs Wright helped with the administration side of Smith's apprenticeship and has watched Smith's successes since he started. Handing over to Mark Isaacs while Mrs Wright takes maternity leave was the perfect opportunity to check on Smith's progress.
And Smith's progress in his Certificate III in Marine - Mechanical at Kangan Institute in Geelong is marked by the Awards he has been winning: Outstanding Achievement Awards from Kangan Institute for both his 2nd and 3rd year and now, the Boating Industry Association of Victoria's 2012 Regional Apprentice of the Year.
But Smith knows he has to learn more in order to fill his boss's shoes. "I need to learn how to price up jobs, to deal with customers, how to use the office equipment and order parts. I need to learn about insurance and all the other things that form part of running a business."
Mr Kartsaklis has no doubt Smith is up for it. "I was looking for someone special," he explains. "And I want to thank Ed Robertson, retired trainer from Hand Brake Turn for knowing Dean is not only the extra pair of hands the business needs, but also has the passion for working on all types of engines that will take him right through to management."
And that's what it's all about, says Isaacs from MEGT. Apprenticeships are an investment in more than the success of a business, it's an investment in a life and a career. Australian Apprenticeships are an Australian government initiative.