This month we introduce 21-year old Isabella Turrise, a third year autobody refinish apprentice with Q-West Smash Repairs in Castle Hill and who will also compete in the Worldskills Nationals in 2021.
Isabella (Bella) was born in Canberra and grew up in the small NSW town of Queanbeyan. She describes herself as more of a country girl than a city girl. While attending Queanbeyan High School, she developed her interest in cars and, something quite different, animal welfare. She went on to Western Sydney University to study animal science and zoology.
University was far too theoretical for Bella as she is much more of a hands-on person, so she returned to automotive because she had completed a VET automotive course at school – which is where she learned how to use an airbrush. “I always had an interest in cars, especially ‘the loud pretty ones’, which I developed at an early age with my grandad’s old, broken-down Suzuki hatch.” It was this old car that became her major project. She not only got it running but also gave it a new paint job.
The move to a pre-apprenticeship in automotive was the logical next step, and she is now enrolled at TAFE NSW’s Campbelltown campus doing a Certificate III in Automotive Refinishing. Notwithstanding COVID-19 restrictions, Bella does some of her practical work at Axalta’s training centre in Marsden Park under the watchful eye of Paul Polverino, who will also coordinate the WorldSkills training program for Axalta at a national level.
Bella was identified as an up and coming talent in late 2018, wining an AAPR scholarship award, and last year she was encouraged by TAFE NSW Campbelltown Head Teacher Carl Tinsley to enter the WorldSkills Regionals. Bella won the gold medal in car painting and will now go on to compete at the nationals in Perth, which are now to be held in 2021. “Bella has shown exceptional talent and I am particularly impressed by her work ethic and desire to improve her skills at every opportunity,” said Tinsley.
Bella has recently joined Q-West Collision Centre at Castle Hill, which is run by 20-year veterans of the industry, Mohammad and Joanne Dandan. Bella gets to hone her skills using Axalta’s premium brand, Standox, at every opportunity, even though she has just completed her second year.
“Isabella has recently joined us and in this short period of time she has demonstrated an outstanding level of proficiency driven by her passion for the industry. We are so proud of the quality of her workmanship and her dedication to her job is admirable. She is young, energetic and has a bright future, and we look forward to engaging on this journey with her,” said Joanne Dandan.
Longer term, Bella has a strong interest in the custom side of our industry. “My partner and I are working on a small business idea to custom paint rocker covers using a combination of hydro dipping and air brushing. This really is the creative side of my craft.”
Editor: IAG’s ongoing support and sponsorship of these awards is greatly appreciated. With such strong recommendations from within the industry, Bella is indeed a worthy Future Leader of the Industry.