Light Vehicle Mechanical Technician Caine Turner, describes in his own words, his defining 2019 experience in the US as a WPC Group / LSH Auto Australia Scholarship Recipient.
My name is Caine Turner. I am currently an apprentice with Mercedes-Benz Melbourne Van Service Centre. I am completing my Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology (second year). I had the joy of being awarded with a scholarship to travel to Louisville, Kentucky to experience what life’s like to be a Mechanical Technician in the United States.
In early November 2019, I flew to Louisville where I spent two days in the new Mercedes-Benz dealership, a brand-new dealership which opened in June 2019. I was given a tour on my arrival, and I was very much impressed by the standard the workshop was kept in. The dealership was full of state-of-the-art equipment. The biggest standout for me was an automated parts machine, a very handy appliance that helps saving time and resources.
On my first day in the workshop, I worked alongside Jay Harley. Jay is a Technician and has been with Mercedes-Benz for 38 years. During the day, we completed basic tasks such as servicing and diagnosing. I was humbled with the opportunity to work alongside someone with so much talent and knowledge.
On my second day in the workshop, I worked alongside Master Diagnostic Technician Chris Seagle. This was a big highlight for me, as I aspire to be one myself. Working with Chris, I was given an outline on what is needed to become a Master Diagnostic Technician, along with tips and tricks on how to diagnose problems with vehicles in my future career.
I was invited to share my experience of what it’s like being an apprentice at a conference with over 300 employers, and attended by some of Kentucky’s government personnel. I spoke on a panel with 3 other apprentices, all from Kentucky. I was able to share about being in an apprenticeship in Australia, and the benefits it holds. I got to hear about how apprenticeships work in Kentucky, and the big difference between the two that stood out to me is that in the United States, apprenticeships aren’t promoted in high schools. Whereas in Australia, students are spoken to and given a taste at what’s it’s like to be an apprentice. This strategy is great, because this is how I learnt about what being an apprentice is all about, and knew that this was the career path I wanted to take. I really enjoyed the experience at the conference, and am thankful of this learning opportunity because I have never spoken in front of this many people before.
While in Kentucky, I went sightseeing and was fortunate enough to visit Churchill Downs, which is the home of the word famous Kentucky Derby. I got to experience western hospitality at the multiple American diners I went to. I got a whole day to explore the National Corvette Museum, which I enjoyed very much, as corvettes are one of my favourite cars.
After the scholarship week had past, I was able to take some time to visit California, in particular Los Angles. I was in LA by myself and loved every minute of it. In the week I spent in California, I visited many famous landmarks such as the Griffith Observatory and the world-famous Peterson Automotive museum, which was home to many cars that were only produced to star in movies. My favourite was the DeLorean from Back to the Future.
I would like to say a massive thank you to all involved in the funding and organisation of this scholarship. It was a very well put together trip, and every day was made enjoyable and interesting. I would also like to thank the people I met in the US for their kindness and generosity, along with the Mercedes-Benz Louisville staff for welcoming me into their workshop and making me feel as if I’d been working there for years.