The latest Future Leader presentation was made at the Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence in Melbourne to Amber Gabelich, a final year spray painting apprentice from Riviera Panels in Bairnsdale.
Phil Nixon, Supply Chain Specialist in the National Supply Chain team at IAG was the MC for the occasion, which was attended by several representatives of IAG, staff and students of Kangan Institute, the National Collision Repairer and, most importantly, Amber’s family.
Following the acknowledgement of country, Nixon introduced Ian Tulloch, Executive Manager, Supply Chain IAG, who in turn asked Amber to join him for a short Q&A.
Tulloch: I believe you grew up in Melbourne where, of course, football is a religion. Do you follow the football?
Gabelich: Yes, I grew up in the eastern suburbs and support Hawthorn.
Tulloch: I see that even while you were in high school you had an affinity for creative drawing. Were cars on the radar back then?
Gabelich: Not really, it was all landscapes and portraits – cars came later.
Tulloch: So, what is your current car?
Gabelich: I love my old Landcruiser!
Tulloch: When you left school, you commenced a pre-apprenticeship course here at Kangan Institute. Tell us about what was involved.
Gabelich: It is a short program so I could ensure it was right for me. This is where I found my interest in cars and I was so thrilled to be given the opportunity to do my apprenticeship here at Kangan Institute.
Tulloch: When you completed the pre-apprenticeship course, I understand it coincided with a major “sea change” for you.
Gabelich: Yes, we moved to Lakes Entrance and I work in Bairnsdale. I love it!
Tulloch: During this time, how did you cope with the commute?
Gabelich: We did our training by “block release”, where we do a full week at TAFE – it makes it so much easier.
Tulloch: And you won the WorldSkills Regional Gold Medal as a second-year apprentice?
Gabelich: Yes, I was encouraged to participate for the experience and “a bit of fun”. I never expected to win.
Tulloch: Then you won a Bronze Medal at the National Finals of WorldSkills in Sydney in the closest result ever in this competition – congratulations. So, what are your ambitions for the future?
Gabelich: In the short term, complete my BBM Scholarship and then further develop my skills – then who knows down the track!
In summing up, Tulloch commented: “IAG is proud to support the Future Leaders of the Industry initiative. We see such recognition as critical for the future of the industry. Amber is a great role model for young women considering a career in our industry.”
Nixon then introduced Joe Ballato – Executive Director of Studies, Automotive Construction and Industrial at Kangan Institute – who congratulated Amber on her achievements, presented her certificate and the award and the two I-CAR training courses.
In receiving this award, Amber said: “I am extremely grateful to all the people who supported me, especially my teacher Andrew Makroyiannis, head teacher Michael Mavrikakis and, of course, my family. I also want to thank IAG for their support of the initiative – I am so thrilled.”
Editor: Amber has a strong motoring pedigree, going back to former land speed record holder, Gary Gabelich. As a 22-year-old, she continues to impress and is indeed a worthy Future Leader of the Industry.