23-year-old Sarah Campbell’s passion, enthusiasm and commitment to her trade has seen her become the 2017 CRA Apprentice of the Year - Golden Gun. Highly regarded in the industry, the award is presented to the most outstanding apprentice in automotive refinishing. The judges were beyond impressed with Sarah’s impeccable eye for detail, consistently high level of quality and professionalism in her work.

“I was really taken by surprise when I found out I had received the Golden Gun award,” says Sarah. “It’s great recognition for me and I think it acknowledges all the hard work I’ve put in to my trade and career. Being the top apprentice in New Zealand is such an amazing thing – I would have been stoked just to be named as one of the top ten,” she laughs. Sarah Campbell

“We’re thrilled for Sarah,” says Babbage & McCullough owner Jimmy Arps. “She has worked very hard towards this award and the advancement of her skills and capabilities throughout her apprenticeship was thoroughly impressive. She approaches tasks with diligence and constantly goes the extra mile – her hard work surpassed only by her positive attitude. We’re very proud of her.”

Sarah has always had a keen interest in cars and thought if she had a career doing what she loved, she would never tire of it. An IAG scholarship recipient, Sarah graduated with a National Certificate in Automotive Body (Level 3 and 4) with strand in refinishing in August last year. Demonstrating her ongoing commitment to furthering herself through education, she is eager to complete the New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) though MITO to continue to progress her skills and knowledge.

“Now that I’m qualified, I definitely want to keep getting better and further my abilities,” says Sarah. “I’d like to own my own business one day and progressing to a foreman position would give me some fantastic experience and a chance to gain a new perspective of the business.”

“Sarah possesses great leadership qualities and has made it quite clear that she wants to step up to a higher role within the business if it becomes available,” says Jimmy. “Sarah is exceptionally driven to achieve her goals and the First Line Management programme will help her to gain an insight into the business side of things and no doubt add another string to her already significant bow.”

Being able to pass on some of my knowledge to other young females who might be interested in a similar career is extremely empowering.

An indication of Sarah’s commitment to the industry is perhaps best exemplified by her attendance at school career days, where she engages with other young people interested in an automotive career – her honest, friendly and encouraging demeanour no doubt helping to inspire a new generation of young technicians. “It’s really rewarding to be able to share my passion, talk about my experiences, and promote the industry,” says Sarah. “Being able to pass on some of my knowledge to other young females who might be interested in a similar career is also extremely empowering.”

Highly respected by her colleagues in the industry, Sarah’s pride in her work and career is nothing short of remarkable. “I love seeing the finished product – being able to fix the cars up and make them look all tidy and new again, then seeing the look of satisfaction on the customer’s face is something I never get tired of. Every job is different but all are equally rewarding.” Her obvious talent and limitless ambition means Sarah is indeed a technician we will hear more about in the future.

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