“I really like art and being creative and so when I saw how a spray painter can transform a car, I thought it would suit me down to the ground. I started work at my friend’s dad’s business doing some minor resto work as I seemed to have a knack for it, even before I went to TAFE.”
The Capital S.M.A.R.T Repairs Ingleburn facility was literally around the corner from Stephanie’s house, so she researched the business and found they were looking for apprentices. “I applied and went through the selection process and joined the Capital S.M.A.R.T Repairs Apprentice Academy at Riverwood and we all went to TAFE together at the Ultimo campus.”
Rainer Malkki and the late Garry Clear from Ultimo TAFE have both provided tremendous support, guidance and mentoring throughout Stephanie’s apprenticeship. It was this support that resulted in Stephanie winning the WorldSkills Sydney Regional Gold Medal, and she is now preparing for the WorldSkills Nationals in Perth. As part of her preparation, Stephanie was introduced to the team at Axalta’s Training Facility in Marsden Park where she can really hone her skills under the watchful eye of Paul Polverino, Axalta National Training Manager.
Stephanie is full of praise for the Capital S.M.A.R.T Repairs Apprentice Academy. “It was such a great experience to work so closely with the others in the program. We were trained by a technician who was affectionately known as “Pompei” and he took us from day-one and set the foundation for the skills we have today. He was always very supportive and encouraged us to do our best. He really did instil a passion for painting.”
Sammy O’Connell, HR Busines Partner at Capital S.M.A.R.T Repairs added: “It has been great to follow Steph’s development over the past three years. We have watched her hold her own amongst some great painters. The feedback from everyone who has worked with her has been positive and I have heard nothing but praise for her abilities from early on in her apprenticeship. She will have everyone at S.M.A.R.T cheering her on in August at the National WorldSkills competition, and whatever the outcome, I think we all agree that her journey in the automotive industry won’t stop here.”
Looking down the track, Stephanie has an ambition to one day move into a role where she can help others in the trade and share her own experiences, which of course can take many forms. However, in the short term it’s all about being the best spray painter she can be.