It all began for Andrew several years ago when he attended a trade night in western Sydney, which led to him doing a night course two days per week at Mount Druitt TAFE while also doing Year 12. He was so taken by the skills required to be a spray painter that he dropped out of school and began looking for a job in the trade.
He was interviewed by Steve Simpson at Parramatta Smash, who was so impressed with Andrew’s passion that he offered him a job and the opportunity to commence his apprenticeship. Andrew returned to Mount Druitt TAFE where Terry Teremoana (now with Campbelltown TAFE) was a key figure in his development.
As a second-year apprentice, Andrew qualified for the WorldSkills Nationals in Sydney, where he earned a gold medal and a place on the Australian team to go to the international event in Leipzig, Germany. He was mentored by 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Brad Franklin, and he finished 5th overall, only 6 points behind the tied bronze medallists. “I didn’t think I had done as well as I had so I was very pleased with the result,” he said.
On his return to Australia, Andrew focused on being the best spray painter he could be and honed his skills at Parramatta Smash using PPG’s Envirobase High Performance waterborne basecoat system. “I completed my apprenticeship and continued to work at Parramatta Smash until 2016, when an opportunity came up at PPG and I jumped at it. I knew the product and the PPG people really well and I knew it was the right move for me.”
Andrew’s initial role was as technical demonstrator, which was predominantly focused on prospective clients to highlight the features and benefits of the PPG portfolio. “I never dreamed that I’d be working for a global multi-national in my early twenties – it was really my dream job.” Interestingly, when we looked back at Andrew’s initial interview, he nominated that a role where he could teach others would be a preferred direction.
For the past two years Andrew has continued his technical role in the field as MSO Support Specialist, working for John Hristias, Business Support Manager, Asia Pacific. The role initially involved supporting Capital S.M.A.R.T and has since evolved to include, but not limited to, looking after the expanding RepairHub network.
We discussed the “state of the industry” today and Andrew laments the dearth of young talent coming into the trade. “Clearly we have some very capable and highly talented young apprentices coming through. The problem is that there just isn’t enough to meet the demand today, which will manifest itself in the years to come. We as in industry need to address this perennial issue.”
Editor: It is self-evident that Andrew was indeed a Future Leader of the Industry back in 2012 and is a great example of how a career can develop in our great industry.