This month we introduce 19-year-old Callum Bishop, who recently completed his autobody refinish apprenticeship with PB Smash Repairs in Nowra and who also joined the PPG NSW Scholarship Program in 2018.
Callum was actually born in Lismore on the NSW North Coast, but the family moved to Nowra when he was still very young. He went to Saint John the Evangelist Catholic High School in Nowra. Eager to work with his hands, at the age of 16 he took up an opportunity for work experience at PB Smash Repairs, a local family business that has been operating in Nowra for decades, and there began his career.
“I was never too keen on school so when the opportunity to do work at PB Smash Repairs came up I jumped at it,” said Callum.
Peter Barton, director and owner of PB Smash Repairs, gave him exposure to the entire collision repair process: “I had the option to do autobody repair or refinishing, but seeing a finished vehicle is such a thrill and seeing the customer’s response gives me such a buzz. I just love the creativity of the painting process.”
When asked if anyone in particular inspired or influenced him, Callum has no hesitation in speaking of his dad, Kevin, who owns his own truck repair business in Nowra. “It’s this long-term connection to the automotive industry that probably set me off on this path. Perhaps cars are in my DNA.”
Callum studies at TAFE NSW North Wollongong campus where he is taught and mentored by his teacher, David Heffernan, who oversees the Automotive Refinishing program at the TAFE. Heffernan was so impressed with both the quality of Callum’s work and his commitment to learn that he had no hesitation in nominating him to be the Wollongong TAFE participant for the 2018 intake to the PPG Scholarship program, which is run by PPG Training Manager, Trevor Duke.
“Callum is a very impressive young man who is always looking to learn. He’s not afraid to ask the hard questions so that he can improve in every aspect of his craft. He is a real pleasure to have in the program,” said Duke.
Callum believes it is too early for him to have a long-term plan, although he feels it’s crucial to maintain a balanced approach between work and play – he enjoys the outdoor life and takes every opportunity to go fishing, camping or motorbike riding. “At this stage, I really want to focus on learning my trade and I’m always looking to innovate to create the best finish that I can for our clients. Right now, adding value to the work we do is my focus.”
Peter Barton, summed it up: “Callum came to us as a 16-year-old straight out of school, and although he is still only 19, he is now running the paint shop. He has an extraordinary work ethic and is invariably first in, and last to leave. He is an exceptional painter and never stops looking for ways to bring greater efficiency into the business. He is a credit to his family, and we are proud to have him on our team.”
Editor: IAG’s ongoing support and sponsorship of these awards is greatly appreciated. With such strong recommendations from across the industry, Callum is indeed a worthy a Future Leader of the Industry.