Top Apprentices Stunned by Golden Awards

This month the Collision Repair Association named Samuel Broadbent of Ngatea Panelbeating and Bailey Jackson of Hamilton Panel Works as CRA Apprentices of the Year for outstanding work in their respective fields. Samuel was recognised for his talent and expertise in automotive refinishing while Bailey was recognised for his hard work and impressive skills in collision repair. Their employers, training advisors and wider community are all immensely proud. The two have bright futures ahead of them.

Both were surprised to learn they had won. Samuel was feeling unsure after his phone interview until a group from the CRA visited to announce he had won the 2022 Golden Gun award. Sam’s father and employer Philip Broadbent said he “couldn’t stop smiling” when he found out. Samuel had dreamt of winning this award ever since seeing an article on the 2021 winner and says, “I was really happy, man I was stoked”.

Bailey was worried he had done something wrong when called to the manager’s office one day, only to find a group of his team there to congratulate him on winning the 2022 Golden Hammer award. Bailey said he was “pretty shocked” but very happy, and his employer Jeffrey Robson was “proper chuffed”.

Samuel Broadbent began working for his father as a car painter around two years ago and has mastered the art with impressive speed. “He’s just a natural achiever kind of person, I’m so impressed with the way he picks stuff up” Philip says. “You tell him something once and he’s like an expert.” He finished MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Refinishing and is praised for his diligent bookwork, always giving 100%, and being an economical worker who can get a beautiful finish with the minimal amount of product. Sam particularly enjoys the challenge of colour matching and getting that perfect glossy sheen. He is now almost halfway through his collision repair apprenticeship as part of his determination to expand his knowledge on the whole industry.

Mark Gebbie, Samuel Broadbent and Warren Flowerday (from left to right)

Bailey Jackson has grown into an accomplished and skillful panelbeater after joining Hamilton Panel Works around five years ago. Jeffrey says “In the workshop his attitude is brilliant” when discussing reasons for Bailey’s success. When reflecting on completing MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair (Non Structural), Bailey says that, like many in the trade, he found the reading and writing more of a challenge. Jeffery was impressed with how he “toiled away at it”. Bailey says “I didn’t want to rush it because I wanted to make sure that I did it on my own terms and that I was happy with what I was handing in.” This perseverance and commitment, combined with his strong work ethic and attitude is what makes Bailey stand out.

Mark Gebbie, Bailey Jackson and Warren Flowerday (from left to right)

Support from the whole industry has helped these apprentices thrive and succeed. Bailey has a fantastic mentor, who worked closely with him in the workshop on the practical side of things. Jeffery is proud of how “the whole team has rallied around Bailey” and is thrilled for both him and the whole company. Through the CRA Paint Scholarship, Samuel received extra mentorship from Rick Lunn, and opportunities which he says helped him with some of the bigger assessments. He believes this was a huge help towards winning this award.

Both employers of this year’s winners agree on the importance of taking on apprentices for the collision repair industry. “It’s incredibly valuable for us as a company. We don’t have tradespeople growing on trees unfortunately like other trades do, so we really have to grow our own people.” Jeffrey says. Philip also sees training apprentices as necessary, citing “a massive shortage of trained people”. Bailey shared his thoughts on increasing the workforce, including that people don’t want to jump into a job they might not like. He proposes giving kids more chances for work experience during their school years and believes that “If you want this industry to be better and bring more younger people in that have a passion to do it, this is how it should be”. For those looking to start an apprenticeship in refinishing Sam advises to have patience as it is truly an art. Bailey also emphasises to not think of it as a job. “You’ve got to love cars and see it as a career” he says, assuring that “you’ll fly and succeed more than you could ever think”. These impressive yet humble young tradesmen are a testament to the incredible benefits apprentices bring to the automotive industry, and MITO is proud to have supported them through their qualifications.