Posted by Motorama in Motorama NewsWhen your daughter rather plays with the Barbie vehicles than the Barbie dolls, you know she's a future mechanic in the works. With a hands-on father and an uncle who is a mechanic, 22-year old Natasha Smith was that little girl. “I always had model cars, read ute magazine and had car posters instead of boybands above my bed”, she says. “When I was a bit older I helped my dad and uncle to work on old timers parked in the backyard of our rural property. I pulled parts of an old Datsun 120Y to make the others run again”, she fondly remembers
Finishing off high school Natasha's parents wanted her to get her OP and prepare for university and although she didn't really want to she went ahead and did it anyway to make them happy. “I just wanted to be a mechanic and start an apprenticeship as soon as possible, but my parents of course wanted to prepare me for the future as good as possible.” She got her OP and worked in the local fruit & vegetable shop for six months to earn some money, but her mind was already somewhere else: her apprenticeship at a car dealership and her future as a qualified mechanic.
In June 2015 – at the young age of just 17 – she had two interviews lined up, one of which was at the Motorama Toyota dealership in Moorooka. Natasha didn't think twice: this is where she wanted to work. “My favourite car has always been a LandCruiser – she owns a 75-series – and always wanted to work on the cars I loved; Toyota's. I fell in love with the workshop at Motorama Toyota – big, modern and spacious – and after getting over the nerves from the interview actually found out that I had a good connection with the Service Manager Mark Harris. We got along from the start, mainly because of our shared background growing up on rural properties.” It's perhaps for that reason he appreciated that Natasha showed up in jeans, boots and a work shirt – ready to go!
at Motorama Toyota could not have gone better. She made the Regionals
in the National Skills Program in 2017 and 2018 (her 3rd
year of apprenticeship) and got into the Top 5 Mechanics out of
almost 100 competitors, with just a handful of woman. “It wasn't
always easy, there were of course also hard days, but the recognition
from Toyota and the team at Motorama together with the qualifications
and prizes definitely made up for it.” She went on to become a
Qualified Mechanic in February 2019 - four months earlier than
expected. And she was given a full time permanent contract as a Pro
Tech right away by Motorama, acknowledging her potential.
“Both Toyota (through their Network Program) and Motorama have given me the opportunity to grow and facilitated further education. It's because of their help and hard work that I won Regional Technician title in August 2019 (just 6 months after becoming a Qualified Mechanic) and the first femail to with the National Skills Technician title just three months after that in November 2019.” Natasha is now training to become a Diagnostic Technician and next to being one of the youngest ones when finished she will also be the only female at that level.
Of course her parents – especially her father – are very proud of their daughter. “My dad was in tears when I won the prizes and my mom now thinks it's cool that her daughter is a mechanic.” She couldn't be happier in her current position, where she also found her boyfriend, who is an apprentice at Motorama Toyota. “It's a great spot for teamwork, where it doesn't make a difference if you're a woman and nobody is too good to offer a helping hand. Sometimes it can be a backbreaking job, but together we'll get there. We're one big family.”
Motorama Toyota Moorooka General Manager Terry Beyer acknowledges that: "I spoke to some of the people that were watching the final in Melbourne and they said she was the clear winner, she was confident and the result never looked in doubt. As well as Tash's proven technical skills she also lives the Motorama Values, any work functions or team building exercises outside of work Tash is always there with bells on and participates 200%. Tash certainly has the respect from her managers, supervisors and her peers it's fair to say we are very proud of her ...well done Tash!"
But that doesn't mean Natasha doesn't have plans for the future. “I want to either manage a workshop or even have my own. There I can train female apprentices and be a role model for them. I want to give them the same support I got to get started as a mechanic and show them nothing should be holding them back.”
Motorama have one of the largest selections of pre-owned cars and 4x4s
for sale at our dealerships in Moorooka, Springwood and Hillcrest.
You can check out our Ironman 4x4 range online or head in-store and chat to the team at Lifestyle 4x4, 711 Beaudesert Road, Salisbury.