A Winding Road to Success for “Unbelievable Mentor”

Indigenous apprentice Lionel Sing had a few false starts to his career before landing on his feet at AE Smith in Townsville, but his patience paid off with a win in Training Queensland’s Indigenous Apprentice of the Year Award for Regional Queensland

12 Aug 2014
 

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[AE Smith’s] got everything, from a great culture to the way people such as James [Wilson] and Jim [Kerby] have confidence in me…

I have grown a lot in the time I have been here – compared with smaller companies where there is not much room for growth

Lionel, who finished his apprenticeship late last year, credits the culture and the support he receives from mentors and senior electricians for his success. But supervisor James Wilson, and Operations Manager Jim Kerby are quick to praise Lionel himself.

“He is a real asset to AE Smith and he is an unbelievable mentor to our young electrical apprentices coming through the ranks,” Jim says.

“He just knows what’s going on,” James says. “He educated himself and took a lot of initiative.”

A self-starter

It’s apparent that Lionel is a self-starter who thrives on the various challenges and opportunities offered by a company such as
AE Smith.

With a background in both solar energy and refrigeration, Lionel was a welcome addition to the Townsville team when he decided to move north from Toowoomba to further his career.

“It was just a matter of finding the right employer,” he said.

Born in Katherine in the Northern Territory, Lionel completed an apprenticeship as a refrigeration mechanic before deciding to follow his dream to become a qualified electrician. From there, his path took him into renewable energy before leading him to
AE Smith – the right employer.

“It’s got everything, from a great culture to the way people such as James and Jim have confidence in me,” he said.

“If you do have a problem, they are happy to sort it out.

“I have grown a lot in the time I have been here – compared with smaller companies where there is not much room for growth.”

Planning ahead

Lionel is now a qualified electrician with plans to continue to learn and grow with a long-term aim of moving into project management.

“Training is the key to personal development and achieving your goals,” he wrote in his application.

At AE Smith, he has been given the opportunities to develop relevant skills such as customer service, mentoring others and juggling priorities.

Reward & recognition

And this is not the first time a Townsville-based AE Smith Apprentice has been recognised, with Kristie McQuilty winning the 2012 North Queensland’s Apprentice of the Year award.

Jim is not surprised by the double win, saying it came down to the excellent individuals and AE Smith’s commitment to quality.

“To produce quality, you need to have quality,” says Jim.

Lionel will be in the running for the state Indigenous Apprentice title in September; and with a win there, he could be heading to Adelaide for the national titles.