Award Winning Passions

For as long as Bradley Potter Gray can remember he has always been passionate and interested about cars. He initially studied the mechanical side of the industry, taking cars apart and putting them back together, but it wasn’t until he realised how much more panel beating had to offer that he decided that was the way to go. He has been able to turn his passion into reality and has recently completed MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair (Non-structural Repair) Level 4 and has been awarded Collision Repair Association’s Golden Hammer. 

Bradley is currently working at Collision Connect Huntly, but this wasn’t where he thought he would end up. “I had completed my Level 4 qualifications in mechanics and was frantically looking for a job. When I finished no one was really hiring in that field, so I started handing my CV out to anyone that would take it. I came across Collision Connect and offered to do two-weeks unpaid work experience. I got through the first week and they offered to pay me for the next week and then began working their full time. And about six months later I was offered an apprenticeship in collision repair.”

Bradley’s manager Aaron Bell started working with Bradley shortly after he began his apprenticeship. When Aaron was asked about Bradley and how he has been going you could tell right away he thinks very highly of him. “Bradley has a very dedicated work ethic; he is a very hard worker and will go above and beyond. He puts his all into it, sometimes even too much”, laughs Aaron. This was one of the main reasons that Aaron and his business partner Mark put Bradley forward for the Golden Hammer award.

2022 Golden Hammer recipient Bradley Potter Gray

Bradley didn’t know too much about the Golden Hammer award when he was asked to apply, but quickly did some research and applied. “I didn’t think I would win the award. I thought it would be good to get my name out there in the industry and try. I was a little nervous in the beginning and doubted myself a bit. But after talking to my managers and boss they were like, you do the work and help manage the shop, you should go for it.”

When Bradley found out he had won the award he was speechless. “I was stumped, I didn’t know what to say. I was blown away. It is still a bit of a shock as I didn’t think I would win. It’s still surreal and don’t really believe it.” Aaron says the award is very well deserved, “Brad has taken on a lot, along with his normal work he also does our glass work for the shop and the air-conditioning work. It is definitely well deserved.”

This is the first Golden Hammer award for Collision Connect. Aaron says they encourage all their apprentices to go for this award but winning has really boosted morale. “It has 100% motivated our staff. It has put a smile on everyone’s face and makes it seem more achievable for everyone else.”

The judges of the Golden Hammer award told Bradley he won the award due to how he demonstrated leadership and knowledge and the passion to pass this onto others. Bradley says, “I have always looked to see what I can do to make the new apprentices that would come through even better. If I can make the next generation better than I am then that means the quality is getting better and the panel beating is getting better.”

Bradley is currently completing MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair (Structural) (Level 5) and doesn’t plan on stopping there. “Since I got into the collision repair industry, I started looking at the industry as a whole. Completing my Level 4 was just the start. I want to learn everything I can, so learning the Level 5 and getting into the structural side helps and I am also looking at getting into the painting side.” Aaron and his team also want Bradley to continue growing wherever he wants to, “We show our staff the different pathways they can go down. We don’t designate them a role. Bradley has expressed his interest in the paint side, so we will help where we can with that as well. He also has the potential to be a good leader and we have talked to him about that side, but I wanted him to complete his structural qualification first and then we will go from there.”

It is evident throughout my conversation with Bradley the passion he has for the industry and himself to keep upskilling. His dedication, hard work and need for others to keep improving has made it clear as to why he was chosen as the 2022 Golden Hammer recipient. Bradley wanted to apply for this award to get his name out in the industry and I don’t believe this will be the last you hear of it!

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