Having just completed his heavy vehicle mechanic apprenticeship and scored a gold medal win at the WorldSkills National Championships, the future is looking very bright for Campbell Garson.
He completed his apprenticeship with RoadTek, the arm of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads that handles infrastructure solutions, including building and maintaining the state’s roads.
Though Garson was based at the Bundaberg location throughout his entire apprenticeship, which he finished in October, he has now secured a position at RoadTek in Cairns – some 1400km away.
“They were advertising a position up there and they have some machines that we don’t have here in Bundaberg, so it was that variety that attracted me,” he said.
“I like a lot of variety and the amount of plant RoadTek has gives me that. There’s a lot of variety to be had, from cars to heavy trucks to all sorts of earthmoving equipment and cranes. There’s a really good amount of different machinery, so can wrap your head around many different systems if you apply yourself.”
When asked what attracted him to the job, he explained, “I’ve been doing it since I was about 13 or 14-years-old. I was always working on tractors at the family farm. My father has an earthmoving bus, so I would work on all of that equipment as well.
In 2015, we did a big restoration on his 1981 Road Boss. We extended the chassis by nearly two metres, put airbag suspension on it and added a big sleeper. Doing all the work on that made me figure out that this is what I wanted to do – to be a mechanic.”
Now fully qualified, Garson says there’s one part of the job that gives him the most satisfaction. “Being able to look at a piece of plant when I’m done, and say yeah, I’ve fixed that, and being able to keep everyone happy and keeping the whole unit running as it should. If the machines aren’t running, then everyone is pretty cranky, but if it’s in good working order, that keeps everyone happy.”
Of the opportunity to compete on the national stage at WorldSkills, Garson saw it as another learning opportunity. “My TAFE teacher Brendon Anderson got me into it. He asked me to compete and I told him I was happy to. One thing I really like is learning something new all the time, I like to improve my skillsets.
“Brendon is over the moon because both of his east coast students got first and second – so myself and then Guthrie Maynard got silver.”
Big Rigs asked Garson if he’d recommend the job to others considering taking up an apprenticeship in the field. “The way things are going, the world is always going to need more mechanics, so long as you’re willing to learn and willing to change with the times, there’s no reason you can’t become a great mechanic and make money while doing it,” he said.
“You’ve got to be ready to work in order to get the big rewards. You need to put in the effort to become a good mechanic. It’s about a willingness to learn and have a go.”