Winner of the 2018 Chisholm Education – ACM Parts for Excellence in Automotive & Supply Chain Management Award Kate Apted proves it’s never too late to chase your calling. 

Kate Apted receives her awardKate Apted held a Masters in Primary Education along with being a qualified Anthropologist lecturing at Monash University. Whilst completing her PhD, she decided to put her career on hold to raise her two sons. 

She had no choice but to take up the role of office manager as circumstances changed and she became a single mum. After being made redundant from her office job Kate decided to do something completely unconventional, she decided to undertake the combined Certificate II in Automotive Servicing and Certificate II in Automotive Mechanical Air-conditioning in September 2013.

After completing her pre-apprenticeship Kate applied for over 200 apprenticeships and made countless cold calls in the Automotive industry but found that nobody would hire her, some even mocked her.

Finally Hallam Truck Care decided to give her a chance and have been proactive in their support for her ambitions. 

As an adult apprentice working for Hallam Truck Care she had the opportunity to study heavy commercial vehicle mechanics and found out that she loved the critical thinking that was required of her as well using her body to perform precision tasks. 

While being the only female in a male workshop does have its challenges, Kate enjoys her work. She likes the idea of having broken personal barriers to be where she is.

Kate was awarded a National Emergency Award for her work with a Black Saturday Strike Team and is part of SALT – Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen. Kate volunteers and speaks at forums about raising awareness for autism after being diagnosed as an adult and having two Autistic sons.

Kate’s trainer throughout her apprenticeship, Barry Jones says “It really helped Kate having the support from her employer, Hallam Trucks, Vicki Archer played a big part in this. Kate is inspirational, aspirational, and enthusiastic and took on a mentoring role within the workshop with her peers”.

“I find it fantastic that as a person Kate was able to reflect on her life and change accordingly based on what she wanted to do. Once she had discovered what she wanted to do, after reflective practise and experience, she was able to realise what that was. I think Kate will end up in a leadership role within the trade as a manager, technician or educator”.
“Kate is breaking the stereotypes of the male dominated trade and with rapidly advancing and emerging  technologies,  equipment and tools, less muscle will be required I hope females consider the industry to be more accessible as a career option”.

When Kate handed her resume in to Hallam Truck Centre she was a bit down about not being able to secure work, it was her lucky break when they were happy to put her on.

Hallam Truck Centre staff say that working with Kate is awesome, she puts up with the boys in the workshop can even out lift some of them. Kate gets on with the job and gets it done. She is headstrong and likes to do everything perfectly which is both her strength and her weakness.

The industry has historically been a man’s world so it has it's challenges working in this environment. Hallam Truck Centre and other similar businesses are working towards changing this. The staff say, it’s nice to work with women out in the workshop, not just an office capacity and that their experience with Kate has made them consider taking on more female apprentices in future as more females are needed in the industry.

Chisholm and ACM Parts are proud to be encouraging all people to enter the automotive industry. 

“Kate is an inspiration to anyone wanting to start a career in automotive repair. Her incredible story shows just what is possible through hard work, determination and a never-give-up attitude,” ACM Parts Acting CEO Campbell Jones said.

“ACM Parts is proud of our partnership with Chisholm Institute to deliver high-quality automotive education, and that we have been able to sponsor this award to recognise phenomenal student talent.

“We congratulate Kate on this well-deserved achievement and wish her every success in her future automotive repair career.”
Kate has completed the training component of her adult apprenticeship in 2017 and will complete her Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical technology apprenticeship in 2019. ACM Parts has provided Kate with a toolbox award prize.