This month we introduce 21-year-old Lachlan Cheney, second year Autobody Repair Apprentice with Sheen Panel Service in Glen Waverley and student at Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence.
Lachlan was born and raised in Wheelers Hill in Melbourne’s southeast and was educated at Holmesglen Institute in Glen Waverley, completing the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), a senior secondary certificate of education that focuses on practical learning and provides a pathway to TAFE.
While he was initially intending to become a carpenter, it didn’t quite work out so his partner, Mita, suggested he focus on his passion for cars and consider becoming a panel beater. Lachlan applied for an apprenticeship at Sheen Panel Service through their website and was called in for an interview on a Saturday morning. They clearly liked what they saw as Lachlan was offered an apprenticeship less than a week later.
“When I was young, I learned how to work on cars from my grandfather, and I built on this knowledge working with my friends on our own cars, so when Mita suggested a new career path, automotive was a no-brainer. Whilst I have dabbled with painting, repairing damaged cars and returning them to ‘good as new’ is what I really enjoy,” he said
Lachlan commenced his apprenticeship at Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence, where he found that as part of the Sheen apprenticeship program he was able to attend Sheen-specific classes at the TAFE. “This program is really great because we also get to do a bit of fabricating, which really helps to develop our fundamental skills.”
At the Kangan Institute’s 2021 Industry Excellence Awards earlier this year, Lachlan was awarded the Sheen Group Body Repair Apprentice of the Year. Michael Mavrikakis, Kangan Institute’s Education Manager said: “Lachlan has a strong sense of commitment and is always looking to improve his skillset. He takes great pride in everything he does and is a great asset to the Sheen Apprenticeship Program.”
Lachlan is highly complimentary of Sheen Panel Service: “The work environment is really great as all the apprentices receive strong support from the more experienced staff. It’s fantastic to be part of the Sheen Team.”
Lachlan believes he is still too young to have clearly defined his career path. However, he enjoys spending time with Mita, weightlifting and working on cars in his spare time. “I plan to complete my apprenticeship, work on becoming the best technician I can be, as well as paying off our mortgage. Who really knows what the future holds?”
Tony Todaro, Apprentice Development Manager at Sheen, summed it up: “Since starting his apprenticeship two years ago, Lachlan has been a great asset to the business. He continues to develop his panel beating skills and shows great enthusiasm for his work. I am confident he will go a long way in this industry.”
Editor: With such strong support from within the Sheen Group, Lachlan is indeed a worthy Future Leader of the Industry.