This month we induct fourth year spray painting apprentice Mark O’Connell of Sheen Panel Service in Ferntree Gully and a former student at Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence.
In these challenging times, the presentation to Mark was conducted at a low-key ceremony with several staff from the Sheen Panel Service facility in Ferntree Gully.
Mark grew up in Melbourne’s southeast where, after leaving school, he found it difficult to find a job until he was able to secure a role at Sheen Panel Service in Malvern. Following completion of his pre-apprenticeship, Mark began a spray-painting apprenticeship at the Kangan Institute. “One of the things that attracted me to the role was Sheen’s apprenticeship program and the Sheen-specific classes at the TAFE.” Mark drew his inspiration from his dad as they are forever working on their 4WDs. However, it was the thrill of seeing the finished product and the look on the customers’ faces that got him hooked on the refinishing side of collision repair.
Mark has now completed his studies at Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence where he was taught and mentored by Andrew Makroyiannis who oversees the Automotive Refinishing program at the TAFE. Even the Head Teacher, Michael Mavrikakis, has been impressed by Mark’s capabilities. “Mark is a highly talented technician, has a strong sense of commitment and is always looking to learn. He was a great asset to the Sheen Apprenticeship Program.”
When we first met Mark, he was already planning his future in the industry. His ambition is to manage a panel shop or even open his own business, in partnership with a close friend, to service and repair 4WDs. Although he still sees this as “down the track”, over the past eight months he has already taken steps in this direction. He was recently appointed to the position of Assistant Manager at Sheen’s Ferntree Gully facility, which, according to Tony Todaro, Head of the Sheen Apprenticeship Program, is a reflection on his capabilities. “Mark has demonstrated a level of passion, commitment and maturity beyond his years. He has worked in both our Tooronga and Frankston facilities and it’s no surprise that he has taken his career to the next level.”
Mark epitomises the principles behind the Sheen Apprenticeship Program and has not let this early success “go to his head”. “I am still focused on being the best I can be, and it’s the technology in the industry that continues to be my motivation. I am so grateful for the opportunities at Sheen Panel Service that now allow me to take a more active role in the business. I also want to thank IAG for their support of this great program.”
Phil Nixon of IAG added: “We congratulate Mark on his achievements and on this award. We are proud to work in partnership with the National Collision Repairer on the Future Leaders of the Industry initiative, which is strongly aligned with IAG’s own values.”
Editor: IAG’s ongoing support and sponsorship of these awards is greatly appreciated. With such strong support from within the Sheen Group, Mark is indeed a worthy a Future Leader of the Industry.