Since the early 80’s, B.F. Panels, one of the largest workshops in the Albury region have employed more than 70 GOTAFE apprentices. Recently, Mark Capito scored a Panel Beating apprenticeship with the family owned company.
Production Manager Reg Corbitt said every year he approaches GOTAFE Commercial Manager for Automotive Mark Ward for potential apprentices.
“Each year we employ an apprentice panel beater and spray painter, most of them have been through GOTAFE,” said Reg.
“So since the 80’s that means we have employed at least GOTAFE 70 apprentices, that’s a lot of young people who have been given a start by us.
“We have always had a good relationship with GOTAFE, in particular Mark Ward who is respected by industry and the apprentices and his background trade is spray paint so has industry experience, a good reputation with in the industry and always backs the apprentices he recommends.
“We have recently put on Mark Capito, who completed his Cert II Paint & panel pre-apprentice training in Wodonga at the Wodonga Secondary College and came recommended by Mark.
“Its early days but he is doing well, he is very enthusiastic, he has the right attitude, work ethic and is eager to learn.
“In one week alone we can have at least 50 cars put through the repair process, so for our 30 odd employees and especially our apprentices like Mark they get to work on a large variety of repairs each creating their own challenges and learnings.
“We have a points base pay system where our workshop staff have the opportunity to do more hours to earn more points, so the harder they work the better their opportunity to earn more money on top of their base salary, of course it’s all depended on output.
“I think Mark will do well on this system as he is already showing some good skills and the right aptitude to problem solving.”
Mark was almost a qualified carpenter before he made the switch to a Panel Beating apprenticeship and he is glad he did.
“I am currently a first year apprentice, employed by B.F. Panels,” said Mark.
“I completed a pre-apprenticeship with GOTAFE to see if I liked the automotive trade and from that Mark put my name forward to B.F. Panels when they were looking for an apprentice.
“B.F Panels were really welcoming when I first started, there are really good people here, it’s a good, safe environment to work in.
“It’s a family run business which is what I like and they make it work well, with Mark a spray painter by trade and Scott a panel beater.
“They trust you to do a good, quality job and work out the problem yourself but there is always someone I can ask, they have people on the lookout for you to make sure you do the job right and that is great to have that support and backup.
“It’s a big business and there are new cars in every day, so I am always working on something new and presented with a new problem to solve everyday.
“They also use water based spray paint which is better for the environment and better for those that use it so that was important to me.”
Mark works full-time and completes one week block training at GOTAFE, a total of seven during the year.
Completing a pre-apprenticeship like Mark, gives students essential trade skills so that if they land themselves an apprenticeship they already have good basic knowledge of the trade, it also gives the students a good opportunity to see if that’s what they want to do as a career.
GOTAFE is now offering mid year intake for paint and panel out of Wodonga Secondary College and also at its Wangaratta Campus. Contact us to learn more.