Attitude Makes the Apprentice

Ethan Joy of Smythe and McCoard Panel & Paint, Cambridge, is set for an impressive career after being named IAG Top Apprentice of the Year in Collision Repair for 2016. With his excellent practical skills, combined with a great attitude, the judges agreed that Ethan was an ideal choice for the award.

The IAG Trades scholarship programme, supported by MITO, aims to boost talent and strengthen the skill base of key industries by supporting a number of new apprentices through their apprenticeship. Ethan was selected from the 2015 intake of scholarship apprentices and received a $1500 Rupes dustless sander courtesy of Wyatt Machine Tools.

These days you really need a qualification to show you’ve got what it takes and so you can guarantee your work. Plus, you can prove to people that you have the appropriate knowledge and experience.

The award came as a surprise to the 21-year-old MITO learner. “I was up against some stiff competition so was stoked to be named Apprentice of the Year!” says Ethan. “But I definitely wasn’t expecting it – I didn’t even have a speech prepared!”

Studying towards a National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Body) (Levels 3 and 4) with strand in Collision Repair, Ethan decided to get qualified as he saw an opportunity to get recognition for the skills he has acquired. “It’s definitely worth doing,” says Ethan. “These days you really need a qualification to show you’ve got what it takes and so you can guarantee your work. Plus, you can prove to people that you have the appropriate knowledge and experience.” 

Ethan Joy

Business owner Daryl McCoard (left) with apprentice Ethan Joy

Supervisor and business owner Daryl McCoard knows he’s found a willing and capable apprentice in Ethan. “He’s extremely enthusiastic and is always here early in the morning ready and keen to help and learn. It’s the mark of a good apprentice and it’s brilliant that he has received this award – it’s thoroughly deserved!”

But Ethan’s attitude came as no surprise to Daryl with Ethan’s dad, Darrell Joy, also working for the business as an automotive refinisher for the past 26 years. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” says Daryl. “Ethan shows the same genuine passion and dedication for the trade as his father, so it was an easy decision to take him on as an apprentice.”

An indication of the importance placed on industry training within the business, Daryl notes they have had previous success with other apprentices. For example, Jackson Gray, who came through Cambridge High School's Gateway programme in 2014, received a three-year IAG Trades scholarship in automotive refinishing, and Callum McKenzie was a runner-up for the Collision Repair Association’s Golden Gun award.

“It’s very hard to find good technicians at the moment,” says Daryl. “So, if you can’t find them, you have to make them! It’s a good way for us to continue to support the industry.”

Ethan intends on continuing to progress his career with MITO’s National Certificate in Business (First Line Management) (Level 4). “It’s definitely my next step after I finish my apprenticeship,” he says.

And Daryl knows he’s got the skills to exceed expectations. “I’ve seen a few people come through the industry and Ethan is right up there. He grasps everything really quickly – more so than other apprentices I’ve seen over the years. It really is the attitude that makes the apprentice and Ethan is already doing the work of a qualified tradesman. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the one who ends up buying the business off me in the future!”

Whatever the future may hold, this apprentice of the year is sure to make his mark on the industry.

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