Lauclan finds success in the workshop

Lauclan with Pro Honda owner, John Peterson.

TRACTION graduate Lauclan has secured an apprenticeship with Pro Honda Motorcycles after successfully completing the TRACTION program.

John’s pathway to Pro Honda

I was raised by my grandparents who taught me a lot of woodwork and mechanical skills. I got an understanding for tools and outdoor activities at an early age because we didn’t stay inside and play games, we were always out working.

I’ve found the way I was raised with my grandparents – always working on something, together with my professional skills has led me down this path. I joined the police force after school and was there for 30 years. I was a part of the motorcycle police and worked with the community all around Australia. I worked on an aboriginal mission for two years and worked everywhere from Mt Isa, to small country towns and major cities which helped me gain a tremendous amount of broad experience.

Once I retired I got involved in the motorbike industry and I love the business. I love the pressure and the staff. I have good staff and apprentices and it’s great to see apprentices grow through their time here and into maturity. I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing young people gain experience and knowledge by getting hands on like I did. It’s very important.

Along came TRACTION…

Over the 20+ years I’ve had Pro Honda I’ve done a lot of interviewing for apprenticeships and mechanics and you ask what experience they’ve got and they say ‘I don’t have any experience, but I want to be a mechanic.’ Then you have another guy come along and you ask what experience have you got? He says ‘well my grandfather or father helped me rebuild the motor or I’ve got a bike of my own and I do the services.’ They’ve automatically got points above the last person who had no experience. What TRACTION has done is given people that opportunity and that’s why I wanted to get involved. I’m always looking for apprentices, but so often see people missing out purely because they don’t have the experience.

People who come from TRACTION have that extra thing that employers are looking for. They get a lot of experience and an appreciation for a team and work ethic. I’d like to see everybody get that experience, so they’ve got a better opportunity to get the job.

It’s just a feeling that I like – helping people and especially to see them progress and I’ve got that helping with TRACTION and also employing apprentices.

Lauclan’s pathway to an apprenticeship

Like John, I grew up with my grandparents and they taught me to do things for myself and have a good work ethic. I worked with them and learnt how to fix bikes myself which I think was an advantage for me.

Through TRACTION I learnt a lot about life skills in general, how to be polite, work in a team and share ideas. To me it’s really important that you have a positive attitude, be nice to people and show them respect like you want to be respected. They’re the two main things I got out of TRACTION – working in a team and respect.

I really enjoyed the TRACTION program because it was different to school. At school it’s quite childish, even at high school people still muck around and be silly. When you go to TRACTION it’s serious, it’s like preparing for the workplace, so you’ve got to be sensible because safety is key.

Work ethic is really important to me now. I believe if you have a task set for you then you do it correctly and you don’t be silly about it because it’s not just you that could be injured, it could be someone else. Especially if you’re working on a bike and you don’t do something right. The rider could hurt themselves potentially and it could be quite serious for the workshop and myself.

I got all of this out of TRACTION and it helped me put my head straight and really think about what I wanted to do in the future. Because I ride motorbikes I’ve always wanted to know how they work and why they work that way, so I decided I wanted to be a mechanic in small engines or motorcycles.

After graduating from TRACTION I spoke to John and he wanted me to finish school and then go and see him and we’d discuss it then, but I wasn’t finding school the best thing for me, so he gave me an opportunity to start working at Pro Honda sooner.

The right attitude goes a long way

Apprentices don’t have to have A’s in English or physics. I like them to have the attitude to work hard and there’s a sense of achievement at the end of it. Someone who’s pretty well dedicated to the mechanical industry whether it be motorbikes or lawnmowers. There’s a big need actually for small engine mechanics and because we’ve got Honda power equipment and Husqvarna, Lauclan can go from motorbikes to power equipment and get dual certificates and the world’s open to him. There’s a lot of opportunities and Lauclan had that attitude that yes, I can do this, work hard and achieve something.

Lauclan stood out for me because I could see potential – he picked up the tools the right way and he had the right feeling about motorbikes. We were looking for another apprentice and I got my son to interview him rather than myself because I was sort of bias.  I’d liked what he’d done here with TRACTION. When my son interviewed him he was very impressed with the quality and standard of Lauclan, so we’ve been more than happy to put him on.

What’s next for Lauclan

I just want to show that I have a good work ethic. I can do what I need to do and be responsible in all my roles. I want to be here, so it’s about asking the right questions and doing the right thing by everyone to show that I’m keen.

It will take me four to five years to finish my apprenticeship because I don’t have a license and I’ll have to do it all a bit slower.

Once I’ve got the qualifications, I want to build on them, maybe go to bigger motors or open up my own shop eventually.

Job ready with TRACTION 

TRACTION definitely helps students become job ready. There are so many people out there that want to do something, but they go home and no one encourages them. They’ve got no peer support to say, ‘let’s go and re-build this motor.’ TRACTION gives them that basic knowledge to build on. I fully support this program and that’s why I have no problem sharing my workspace even though I’d love the room, we’re jam-packed, but there’s no way I’d take it off TRACTION because it’s such a good program for these young people.

– John Peterson, Pro Honda Director

TRACTION gave me all the skills I needed to get this apprenticeship. From the hands-on side of things to understanding simple things like sharing tools and working in a team. Without this program I wouldn’t have got my apprenticeship. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in mechanics, I’m all for it and it’s good for young people. You just need to be in the right mindset and work hard.

 – Lauclan, TRACTION graduate