Lakes Entrance 21-year-old, Amber Gabelich, who currently works at GP Motors as a spray-painting apprentice, has been selected by WorldSkills Australia to compete against the best up and coming Australian tradespeople at the WorldSkills National Championships in Sydney early next month.

The championships are part of Skills Show Australia 2018, which will be held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney from Saturday, June 2, to Monday, June 4. More than 400 competitors from across the country will vie for the title of national champion in 50 trade and skill categories. Amber, who is a student at Kangan Institute, will compete in the vehicle painting competition at the skills show after earning her place at the national championships after a strong performance at one of last year’s Australian regional competitions.

“Being chosen to compete at WorldSkills National Championships is such an honour and I can’t wait to see what I can achieve,” she said. “I’m very grateful to WorldSkills Australia for this opportunity, and to GP Motors and Kangan Institute.

“Paul mentioned to me that I should maybe compete last year and I went through the process to figure out who would compete and at the regional ceremony I had the number one painting.”

Amber’s journey started four years ago when she still lived in Melbourne and continued when she moved to Lakes Entrance and began searching for a job. “I went door knocking from business to business to try and find a job, until I landed one. “I had no idea when I first started that it would take me this far. I didn’t know what was in store.” Amber thoroughly enjoys her trade as it combines her passion for art and cars.

“I absolutely love my job and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I would eventually love to get into custom work and restorations as I love seeing the progression of cars that come into work,” she said. “I find my job very rewarding, watching smashes roll out of the shop like new and seeing the same with resprays.” Amber said she found it “very rewarding working a male-dominated trade and being able to keep up to the same standard”.

“I like being treated the same as the males and wouldn’t like it any other way,” she said.

“It’s great to break down the boundaries by competing in skills that have had low female participation. I want to inspire other young women to explore the range of trade opportunities out there.”

Out of 50 skills in the national championships, 30 have female representation, which is the most in the competition’s history. In total more than 100 women will compete in a wide variety of skills, from heavy vehicle mechanics through to electrical installation. “To be a part of that is an incredible career and personal achievement,” Amber said. Amber’s foreman and GP Motors
part owner, Grant Mitchell, couldn’t speak more highly of the young apprentice.

“She is pretty good at her job and it is exciting to see her make it this far. She continues to improve all the time and get better,” he said. “I can’t remember exactly when we first met, but she came in for a job interview and we put her to work straight away. She is really nice, friendly and confident and fits right in. She works very well with every one. “The office lady and her are the only ladies so she fits in well with the 19 boys at the shop.”

Article published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser, Monday May 28, 2018

Congratulations Amber, from everyone here at the Gippsland East LLEN!