Meet the HVIA Apprentice of the Year nominees


The nominees have been announced for the HVIA Apprentice of the Year, with the winners to be announced next month at a special event that will also be live-streamed.

Sponsored by Warby Tools, the HVIA Apprentice of the Year is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated advanced ability as they undergo their apprenticeship in a discipline related to heavy vehicle repair, service or the manufacturing sector.

Last year, it was Joel Dunstan of the Brown & Hurley Group – Yatala, who took out the title.

According to the HVIA, those who have been nominated have demonstrated high level performance, an enthusiastic attitude and will be able to articulate their future industry employment goals.

The 2021 nominees are:

Brett Haylock (Cummins South Pacific – Adelaide)

Haylock joined the Cummins Adelaide team as a mature age apprentice in 2018. His passion for the heavy vehicle industry is very clear to anyone that interacts with him. He has always put his hand up for opportunities to support field service, including travelling to mining customers.

Haylock has a thirst for knowledge, and with his sights set on joining Cummins’ field service team, he is determined to learn more. Brett has ambitions to become a truck shop supervisor. His current mentors have no doubt that he is destined for a leadership position.

Jack Dennis (Penske Australia Brisbane)

Dennis has consistently demonstrated many key qualities of an efficient and reliable technician over the four years he has been with Penske Australia.

His skills have developed quickly over his apprenticeship, from starting with basic service and minor repair work in his first year, to now working independently and carrying out major repairs including: in-chassis and out-of-chassis engine rebuilds, chassis rail replacements, engine swaps, warranty work, and carrying out diagnostic procedures.

He has also completed numerous factory training courses with Detroit and Western Star, along with finishing his TAFE courses. He is highly regarded amongst the qualified technicians on his crew and has the ability to work effectively by himself or in a team.

Jake Strooband (Daimler Trucks Brisbane)

Strooband started with the company as a first year junior apprentice, he decided to pursue his apprenticeship opposed to further training in university training, in light of recent events his wise decision and determination to succeed has meant within his family he is the more successful sibling.
He takes pride in his work and is very humble.

He sees himself progressing into further and higher levels of training. After completing his heavy apprenticeship, he plans to move towards a dual trade as an auto electrician then onto specialisation of engine diagnosis and rebuilds.

Glen Battershill (Daimler Trucks Brisbane)

With a few years experience working on cars already under his belt, Battershill brought strong knowledgebase into his heavy vehicle apprenticeship.

He has a meticulous approach to the process he uses in his daily work especially diagnosis jobs. He follows step-by-step procedures to consistently produce accurate results and adapts previously learned techniques to aid his progression and proficiency.

Battershill aspires to be regarded as one of the most knowledgeable mechanics in the workplace.

“I aim to be able to help any team member in the workplace and be efficient at my job by having the ability to find information,” he said.

Tristan Steele (Brown & Hurley Group – Coffs Harbour)

Recognised for his maturity and a skill-set equivalent to a tradesman with a decade’s experience, Steele’s mentors say he is a standout from the rest.

Steele is the first person to put his hand up to help out and his supervisor says other departments are keen to poach his skills to their own teams.

He says he has developed a passion for the transport industry and is looking to add an advanced diploma in mechanical technology. By completing his auto-electrical trade that will give Steele enviable dual trades.

“I plan on this giving me the experience and knowledge required to begin taking on a more leadership focused role, in the workshop and community, putting me a position to inspire and guide other apprentices and school leavers to pursue a career in our industry,” Steele said.

Harry Dudley (Tefco Trailers)

Dudley’s quality workmanship speaks for itself, but it is his diligence and problem-solving skills that make him stand above the rest according to his supervisors.

“He is always thinking of ways to improve the builds,” they said. “Always thinking about the quality and how to do things faster. He will be one of the future leaders in our business “

Dudley is obviously ambitious and sets the bar high.

“I’m preparing myself to be a helpful fellow worker who will be able to share my knowledge and time with the people that surround me in my daily work in the industry,” he said.

“I love to keep following a path of learning and passion to find myself taking on new responsibilities and be driven to continue forward with my trade.”

Daniel Steuten (Royans – Melbourne)

Steuten has had an interest in the automotive field from a young age and spends every spare minute modifying his cars.

He has shown exceptional understanding during the four years of his Mechanical Apprenticeship coupled with a “can-do” attitude.

“His attitude and commitment have been flawless,” his supervisors said. “He is a joy to have around the workshop.

“We have been extremely happy watching Daniel progress into a skilled tradesperson. He has shown skills across all areas of the smash repair process and continues to surprise us with his capabilities and knowledge.”

Having recently completed his mechanical apprenticeship, Steuten now intends to take on an auto electrical apprenticeship.

“Royans has been highly supportive of my will to continue my training and gain more qualifications. I would like to continue my work here at Royans and move through the ranks as time goes by,” he said.

Oliver Burey (Volvo Commercial Vehicles Brisbane South)

Burey’s supervisors say he is “the new standard” for what a fantastic apprentice should be for Volvo Commercial Vehicles.

“He has all the qualities an employer would wish for and is just as important as a five-year post-trade key technician for the business,” they said.

Adjectives used to describe Burey include punctual, efficient, dedicated, flexible, adaptable and safe.

Burey is interested in doing a dual trade in auto electrical building on the skills he already uses in diagnosing vehicle faults.

Beyond the dual trades, Burey dreams of one day opening up his own transport repair business so he can give the opportunity he had to learn his trade to other kids.

Dylan Johnston (Cummins South Pacific – Campbellfield)

Johnston started in a school based apprenticeship and quickly moved into a full-time apprenticeship at Cummins Campbellfield.

While his time at Cummins started with plenty of turbulence and some adversity, Johnston established a steep learning curve which has seen him excel in his apprenticeship.

He is looking forward to gaining further experience in field service and mining.

“Some of the differences in machinery and being out on the road in more difficult scenarios excites me,” he said. “Wherever the world takes me with Cummins.”

Wayne Taradel (Drake Trailers – Apprenticeships Qld)

Taradel has been an outstanding apprentice throughout his entire apprenticeship.

He has consistently exceeded expectations during his daily duties and has always completed his training to an exceptionally high standard.

Taradel’s unwavering commitment in all aspects of his working life, his friendliness and helpfulness with both his workmates and management has made him a popular and valued member of Drake’s workforce.

Combine his exceptional performance with the value and popularity he has earned within the Drake team and he is a more than worthy nominee for Apprentice of the Year.

Jayden Breuker (Daimler Trucks Mt Gambier)

Breuker was a qualified diesel technician when he joined Daimler Trucks, already with a real desire to learn more. He jumped at the opportunity to dual trade and undertook his Cert III in Automotive electrical technology.

While successfully completing his second trade, Breuker has also been completing Fuso, Mercedes Benz, Freightliner, Allison and Detroit training and has been promoted to Workshop Supervisor, all by the age of 25.

“In an ever-evolving industry, he epitomises the kind of people we need to be attracting and retaining to the heavy vehicle industry,” his supervisor said.

Breuker already sees a pathway to one day become branch manager.

“Initially my goal is to keep improving and learning more so I can be the best I can be,” he said. “I also will be working on empowering my crew to be the best they can be, so we can offer our customers the best service experience possible.”

Christopher Nash (Graham Lusty Trailers)

Nash is in his final year as an apprentice at Graham Lusty Trailers. When he first arrived at the factory wanting to undertake his apprenticeship, his eagerness to learn shone through immediately.

He was assigned under Roger Hill to work on the Red Bull Holden Racing Team transporter. It didn’t take long before Hill could see Nash’s commitment, passion and natural talent.

Founder and chief executive Graham Lusty said self-belief and the fact that he doesn’t limit himself is what makes Nash a standout apprentice.

“Chris is always smiling, even when we ask him to do a challenging task, he smiles and says yes,” Lusty said. “He has an outstanding work ethic, listens to those around him and absorbs those lessons to excel at his trade.”

Nash sees his future in Australian manufacturing. “I think we should build more things locally and create more jobs for the industry,” he said.

“I hope to keep developing my skills and knowledge in fabrication, engineering, welding and other aspects of business.”

Harrison Berlin (Cummins South Pacific – Brisbane)

Berlin lives and breathes the Cummins values in everything that he does.

He was nominated to undertake the Automotive Industry Ambassador Program in 2020 as he demonstrates and continues to demonstrate his leadership qualities.

This has been seen by his ability to lead and mentor other apprentices through the early stages of their journeys. “Junior apprentices look up to Harry for guidance and reassurance and Harry has always taken the time to talk with them and offer his insights which shows that Harry is able to lead from the front,” his mentors said.

“His attitude and ability to work outside the norm never goes unnoticed and it is what has made him into the technician he is today.”

Berlin has a desire to work in field service, to learn more about power generation equipment and to continue to hone his skills so that he is able to work autonomously.

Jarrod Mihalj (Cummins South Pacific – Laverton)

Throughout his apprenticeship Mihalj has displayed an exemplary work ethic. This has resulted in his early release from his apprenticeship.

Mihalj won the 2020 Cummins Laverton “apprentice of the year” award.

He is highly capable and always shows great initiative towards all types of work. According to his manager, Mihalj shows a sense of ownership and pride that is rare to come by.

“He demonstrates his ethic with his peers both older and younger,” they said. “Jarrod is respected amongst the team due to his highly motivating attitude.”

Mihalj wants to continue his career by building his foundations in the workshop before moving into either a field service or a supervisor position.

Logan Ellis (Cummins South Pacific – Devonport)

Ellis started with Cummins Devonport in 2018 as a first year where he was eager to learn everything he could. His hunger has stayed with him over his apprenticeship where it has morphed him into a high level technician.

Ellis’ manager said he thinks outside the box when jobs get tough, especially when he is completing them on his own in a field service role. “He has sound knowledge of many sectors from Marine to forestry to on highway to Power Generation and everything else in between.

“Logan has a fantastic sense of humour and can light up a room with his laughter. He truly is an asset to our business.”

Ellis will soon bea  Cummins’ Hobart based technician – just four months after completing his apprenticeship.

Ellis has ambitions to progress through the company – first by taking on a supervision role, leading into a service manager/operations manager role, then progress from there.

The regional and national winners of the HVIA Apprentice of the Year awards will be announced at the HVIA Gala Awards Breakfast in Brisbane on Friday November 19, 2021. The event will be live-streamed.

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