Best Mechanic in the World from Myaree Car Service
Western Australia is producing world champion apprentices like Dale McMullen who won gold in Automobile Technology at the Worldskills International Competition in Japan with his employer G-Mac Auto Centre and trainer Challenger TAFE helping him to produce the world leader result.
WorldSkills International gold medallist Dale McMullen is fast on his way to big things after representing his country at the 39th WorldSkills International Competition at just 23 years of age - and it all started with a WA apprenticeship. When he was a young boy mopping floors in his father's mechanical workshop, Dale couldn't have imagined that in just a few years he would be gracing the WorldSkills stage in Japan. But it seems that those years spent cleaning up after mechanics at G-Mac Auto Centre in Myaree were what gave Dale the edge over his competitors. It enabled him to win Best of Nation and a gold medal in the automotive mechanics category at WorldSkills in Japan in November 2007. "I think because I have had a lot of experience and been exposed to the industry for a long time, I was very adaptable," Dale said. "Also, the pressure didn't seem to get to me as much as the other guys."
"As the employer of our only Gold Medalist in the 2007 WorldSkills Olympics, I feel an enormous sense of pride to see the next generations of talented mechanics preparing to again demonstrate to the world that Australia has the most energetic, skilled and determined young trades people in the world. With a shoestring budget, we have given notice to the world that we indeed are a force to be reckoned with. We have also shown that our trades people are world class young people, second to none. Together with my wife and all the staff of G-Mac Auto Centre, I wish you all a fruitful and successful trip. Good luck," says Graeme McMullen, wishing success to future competitors at international events and in everyday challenges.
Commitment of dedicated mechanic
As the automotive mechanics representative in the Australian WorldSkills team, Dale had to compete in seven tasks at the international event in Shizuoka, Japan. He did so well that he was recognised not only as the best in his trade, but as the best Australian overall competitor in the event. It's a proud achievement for the young mechanic who displayed exceptional dedication and commitment to get there, and had a strong, supportive team around him, also being able to draw heavily on the resources of his former training provider - Challenger TAFE. Dale completed his apprenticeship through Challenger TAFE in 2004 and lecturers have continued to support him in his quest for gold, which began with the State WorldSkills Competition in 2005 and the WorldSkills Australian National Competition in 2006.
Consultants of Latest Technologies
Lecturer Shaun Holland gave up his spare time to tutor Dale once a week in the lead up to the national competition. Shaun helped Dale brush up on some of the basics that he hadn't been exposed to since he graduated. Then last year before the international competition, Howard Wilson, program manager of automotive industries and electrical trades at Challenger TAFE, was asked to help Dale who needed financial assistance to get the equipment he needed to train on. With his strong industry links and networks, Howard managed to source and purchase a Nissan diesel engine and Nissan automatic transmission funded by Challenger TAFE for Dale to practise stripping and assembling techniques in record time. Howard and industry consultant Peter Hard of Contract Automotive Management Services were also proactive in arranging with the service managers at Prestige Honda and Magic Nissan - Platinum for Dale to visit their workshops and learn the latest technologies firsthand.
The approach worked with Dale now essentially owning the title of the "Best Mechanic in the World", a phrase that doesn't sit too comfortably with the Bateman auto whiz. "I don't know about being that but it's fair to say the whole WorldSkills team that Australia sent over is the best in the world," Dale said.
"Literally from the time I walked off stage in Japan I was doing media interviews and this continued on for some time after landing back in Oz. I've also been doing a lot of public speaking promoting skills and sharing my journey with people which has been an awesome experience". Dale say's work has been great with clients coming in saying "They read about me in the paper or on the TV and wanted their car repaired by the best!"
Further Car Service Development
Since his win, Dale is now judging the State and national WorldSkills competitions and is even considering becoming a lecturer and, as you can imagine, is a big supporter of WA's training system. "I would definitely encourage people to consider an apprenticeship," he said. "There isn't that public perception that you have to go to uni to get a good job anymore. It's now also seen as good to get a trade and it all starts with an apprenticeship."
Dale now works alongside his father specialising in the modern diagnostic areas, while his dad works in the traditional aspects. "Next year I'm going to focus more on the management side of my job and work towards one day owning and running my own business." For Dale, one of the perks of his trade is being able to work on his own car and build it to his own tastes. Dale's aim is to continue improving his skills and gain further experience, and is considering moving into Motorsport in the future.
Asked for advice to future competitorson the WorldTrade stage, Dale had this to say: "The 12 months preparation running up to the event is absolutely critical, it is equally - if not more - important than the four days of competition. Over the next year you've not only got to train to be the best young trades person and competitor you can be, you've got to train to be prepared for anything, you never know what could happen over 4 days when you're in the 'pressure cooker' ! Aside from that enjoy it, the next 12 months will fly buy and before you know it you'll be on a plane to the event. GOOD LUCK!"