A MT HELENA automotive apprentice is one of the top seven finalists in the country in the Australia’s Apprentice of the Year competition.
James Smith (23), has been working at LB Automotives in Malaga for more than three years and will complete his apprenticeship in 2013.
The keen mechanic has been around cars since he was a teenager, growing up in a household where preparing for professional drag races and building custom cars was a way of life.
Mr Smith is passionate about his career and believes his education is what has helped him get so far.
He would eventually like to save enough money to start his own custom car building business “on the Hill” because he believes there is a lack of such businesses in the area.
Before starting his apprenticeship, Mr Smith was earning good money working in mining, but he gave up a stable wage to pursue his dream – despite earning a pittance as an apprentice.
“I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but for me it was small price to pay for doing something I love,” he said.
The first car Mr Smith owned was a light blue 1981 VC Commodore.
“I still have it a,” he said. “I also own a VZ Marlow which is for everyday use, but my next project is a 1980 C3 Corvette. “
When asked where he thinks he will be in five years time, Mr Smith said he hoped to be running his own business, specialising in performance and custom cars.
“And I would also like to train up an apprentice of my own one day,” he said.
The winner will be announced on October 15.