Eli Taylor was a standout for the judges, not only is he doing well as an apprentice but he is a mentor and inspiration for others.
li Taylor is an apprentice panel-beater at AMA Group’s Gemini Townsville repair site. He joined the group in 2019 as a Year 11 school-based apprentice, moving to a full-time apprenticeship once he graduated Year 12.
Eli is a proud Waanyi and Ganggalidda man from Doomadgee, a very remote location in northwestern Queensland with no secondary school. He moved to Townsville to stay at NRL Cowboys House, which provides supported accommodation, quality secondary education opportunities and support transitioning to workplaces for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from some of North Queensland’s most remote and educationally disadvantaged communities.
Over 1000 km from home, Eli spent more than 40 weeks each year away from his family, which would be very challenging for anyone at that age. In Year 11, Eli took on a school-based apprenticeship at Gemini Townsville. He used his apprenticeship wages to help his family and buy gifts for them: “It would always be about what he is going to do for his family,” says Martin Dickinson, Eli’s first manager at AMA Group and now Area Manager for North Queensland.
When he graduated Year 12 in 2020, Eli transitioned into a full-time apprenticeship. “Eli has been fully committed,” says Martin. “He’s always respectful and has progressed rapidly through the years, to the point where he is now able to do all the main basics of a tradesmen, with two years still left in his apprenticeship.”
In June 2022, Eli was accepted into the Future Leaders of the Industry program, sponsored by IAG and I-CAR.
Eli’s new manager Phil Fairweather and his trades mentor Shayne Walsh speak highly of his positive attitude and willingness to learn. As well as being a great asset at Gemini, Eli is already a role model to the next year of graduates from the NRL Cowboys House — including his younger brother Chad, who has also now started an apprenticeship with AMA Group.
His message to graduates as they enter apprenticeships is “When you go into work, heads up, ears out. Always listen to your supervisors and all the other workers there. They’re always there for me, tell them if you need help.”
Antonio Winterstein, Career Transitions Officer at NRL Cowboys House, says “It’s been an absolute pleasure to witness Eli’s development, from a shy year 11 student back in 2019 to the young man who inspires many of his peers at the NRL Cowboys House and back home in Doomadgee. Eli’s rise from a work experience student with AMA Group to an established apprentice has enhanced the interest of many students who wish to follow in his footsteps. Leadership is demonstrated in many forms, and Eli leads by his actions.”
The dedication and commitment Eli has already demonstrated and his selfless support for his family, tells us he has a bright future as a leader in the collision repair industry.