New Capricorn rising star emerges from highly talented field

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 5, 2020

Capricorn, Australasia‘s largest automotive cooperative, has once again conducted a highly successful search for Australia and New Zealand‘s top performing automotive apprentice.

Capricorn Rising Stars is an initiative to help Capricorn members recognise, reward and retain their high-performing apprentices. These are apprentices who show initiative in the workshop, eagerness to learn, and commitment to the auto industry. By recognising the contribution of automotive apprentices and the bright careers they have ahead of them, Capricorn hopes to continue to attract the best talent and keep more qualified auto repairers working in the industry.

More than 250 apprentices were nominated this year by Capricorn member automotive workshops from industry sectors including panel and paint, auto electrical, heavy diesel, tyre/wheel and general mechanical workshops located across Australia and New Zealand.

Five finalists were selected by the Capricorn Rising Stars judging panel, which comprised a selection of highly experienced automotive aftermarket industry identities including AAAA CEO Stuart Charity; Workshop Whisperer Rachael Sheldrick; Kangan TAFE commercial vehicle and engine tech manager Gavin Cribb; TaT Biz director and technical expert Jeff Smit; Castrol national sales manager Marco Mercuri and Capricorn Automotive CEO Bradley Gannon.

The Capricorn Rising Stars finalists were:

  • Lachlan Fraser – JMH Group, WA

  • Gabrielle Clift – Highfields Mechanical and Off Road, QLD

  • Dylan Quinn – Carrington Street Auto Repairs, SA

  • Abby Brice – Bensons Auto Clinic, NZ

  • Lochlan Robinson – NCD Custom Refinishing, NSW

The 2020 Capricorn Rising Star Apprentice of the Year is Gabrielle Clift from Highfields Mechanical and Off Road (QLD), the first female winner of this prestigious automotive service and repair industry accolade.

“Gabby has an attitude that cannot be taught and a work ethic that is rare,” said her employer, Craig Baills. “She is an integral part of our team and an employee who improves the performance of those around her.”

Clift was thrilled to have won the award, which comes with prizes including an all-expenses paid Castrol Supercars Experience and Workshop Whisperer Leadership Academy training.

“I am very humbled and honoured to receive this award. I‘d like to congratulate all the other hard-working and deserving nominees who are forging a career in automotive,” Clift said.

Clift‘s employer, Highfields Mechanical and Off Road, was also awarded 150,000 Capricorn bonus points for their winning nomination.

Each 2020 Capricorn Rising Stars finalist received a $1000 Repco voucher, a 12-month subscription to Repco’s Autopedia Technical Support Service, tickets to two Repco Masterclass Clinics, plus a 12-month subscription to Autodata Training.

Capricorn Automotive CEO Bradley Gannon is pleased that this year‘s Capricorn Rising Stars competition has placed the industry‘s next generation of automotive experts in the spotlight once again. 

“We are always impressed by the number of nominations and the remarkable quality of the apprentices in the industry though our Rising Stars competition,” Gannon said.

“My judging panel colleagues certainly had a difficult job this year given the extremely high standard of the nominees. We congratulate all of the finalists and our 2020 winner, while also thanking each of the Capricorn members who took part. This competition is all about recognising and supporting young people to reach their potential in the automotive repair and service industry,” Gannon added.

Capricorn thanks all members who nominated their star performing apprentices for this year‘s Capricorn Rising Stars competition from both Australia and New Zealand.

Capricorn Rising Stars is proudly supported by Capricorn preferred suppliers: Castrol, Repco, AutoMate, Workshop Whisperer, and TaT Biz.