This month we introduce 25-year-old Nicole Tukavkin, a second year apprentice spray painter from Fix Auto Somerville, Victoria, who is building on her inherent creativity as she embarks upon her career in the collision repair industry.
Nicole was born and raised in Officer in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne and completed her education at Pakenham Secondary College. On leaving school she went into partnership with her mum in the hospitality sector. They bought their own local café, which they ran successfully for four years, before Nicole decided she wanted to pursue something new.
“When I was growing up, I was always into arts, painting and drawing as they allowed me to tap into my creative side. I just happened to go to a local collision repairer for a minor repair and got talking to the owner who showed me around the shop, including the paint room, spray booth and, of course, seeing the spray painter in action – I decided, this is for me.”
So, in 2019, Nicole fired off her resumé to all the panel shops in the area. However, in an industry with a significant shortage of talent, she received little to no response from the vast majority – go figure. “It wasn’t until my local panel beater heard that Somerville and District Panels (now Fix Auto Somerville) was looking for an apprentice and passed on my resumé – and here I am.”
Co-owner and director Roslyn Kubeil said: “We are so thrilled that Nicole has been nominated as a Future Leader of the Industry. She has been with us since November 2019 and has been going great guns ever since. She is so dedicated, loyal, does an awesome job on all her work and is very humble about it. It’s great to have her as part of our team.”
Since joining the business, Nicole has learned a great deal about her craft and can’t speak highly enough about the Standox product and the support of the local Axalta technician Nathan Boughton, who she says is always on hand whenever they need to reach out.
Nicole does her formal training at Chisholm Institute in Dandenong under the watchful eye of her teacher, Ben Raulin. She really enjoys the classroom environment, which further enhances her on-the-job training, and is also full of praise for the support from Raulin and the facilities at Chisholm.
Fix Auto’s Steve Taylor added: “Nicole is undoubtedly going to be one of the Future Leaders of the Industry, through her dedication, conscientiousness and polite demeanour, in addition to always striving for perfection.”
When Nicole is not painting cars, she spends time with her family, friends and her dogs, as well as staying in touch with her passion for arts and crafts. However, her biggest thrill comes from working in such a great environment at Fix Auto Somerville. “Everyone here really does get on so well together. It’s a great place to work and when the organisation talks about the ‘Fix Auto Family’ they really do mean it. For the foreseeable future, I will focus on being the best spray painter I can be and continue to ensure our customers get the best repair we can give them. After that, who knows?”
IAG’s ongoing support and sponsorship of these awards is greatly appreciated, as is the support from I-CAR Australia, which donates two training courses valued at over $500 to each Future Leader of the Industry.