Leaston Farrawell is the 27 year old MAOTY Zone winner for QLD/NT, and writes
"I have lived in northern Brisbane for the last 15 years, I have lived in several places before and during my Apprenticeship, Currently I live in Petrie, Queensland, People at work call me a Gypsie, but finding cheap accommodation usually means moving about regularly and when that was not an option, I found myself couch surfing or living out of my car at the time, anything that was necessary to continue my apprenticeship really.
I attained my Junior High School Certificate (Grade 10) and continued another 6 months before leaving to start working.
I finished working as a service advisor for Stihl Morayfield and set out to gain an Apprenticeship as a Motorcycle Mechanic as I found myself Learning more about small engines and motorcycles in my own time, so I visited all the workshops in my area asking for either an apprenticeship or work experience, I was lucky enough to secure a job doing work experience through a local small workshop, Mick's Car & Bike Tyres, during this time I continued to look for an apprenticeship which I was lucky enough to get through Team Moto Virginia.
My training was tough at the beginning as our training provider changed 4 times within the first 12 months of my apprenticeship, Our final training provider was MTAQ (Motor Trades Association of Queensland), My Trainer is Ken Rahley of whom I cannot speak highly enough, he has allowed me to study not only my trade, but also give me the freedom to explore past the core material and onto more advanced theory and practical examinations to help broaden my understanding of the trade as a whole.
Unfortunately I have not yet been able to study any further classes outside of my Apprenticeship, however I have signed up to do my Honda Certified Technician online training and would like to have this completed in the next couple of months,
Outside of Motorcycles, I have completed Bronze and Silver level Technician training through Stihl Australia and have a solid foundation of small engines through this training.
Motorcycling of course, but I also play Military Simulation Laser Skirmish and travel Interstate to large scale events, In September this year I traveled to South Australia for an event, I have recently decided to pursue my passion for engines and I am currently learning about Marine Steam and Marine Diesel engines, additionally I also enjoy Remote Control Boats and specifically designing and constructing them, my current build is a 1/35th scale 3D printed kit of the HMAS Armidale Patrol Boat.
I currently own 2 Motorcycles, a 2011 GSX-R600 and a 1998 CBR250RR (MC22) Track Bike, Currently the track bike has been pulled down to the frame ready for a ground up re-build,
Bikes I have previously owned and worked on are another MC22 Road bike which i used as my daily commute for 6 months, and before my GSXR I owned a Yamaha YZF-R125 which I learned how to pull down and put back together again in a single night before doing a 500km road ride the following day, I also learned how to crash on that bike....Alot haha, was a ripper little bike, in the end she had a 180cc big bore kit and a Piggy back ECU installed and was tuned to perfection, was a sad day to let her go.
My future goal is to carry on my trade and start my own workshop restoring motorcycles and building performance motorcycle engines, I have a strong passion for Engines in general and like to make them as fuel efficient or as powerful as I can whilst still maintaining a high standard of reliability,
I would also like to continue learning about more aspects of the automotive trade, particularly the Automotive Electrical Trade.
Just being nominated for this award has made me proud of my Training and my Trainer, If i were to win this award it would justify my decision to leave my previous lifestyle and tough it out as a mature age apprentice, this award would also mean the world to my family as they are the ones who have kept me going and supported me through this apprenticeship, it would be an award I could proudly show them and thank them for all the hard work they put in to help make this a reality for me.
Team Moto Virginia is an excellent place to work, the workshop staff, mechanics and other apprentices are all quite knowledgeable and everyone is a bit of a larrikin, from a training point of view, we are allowed as much time as we need with our trainer to understand and perfect our knowledge of the trade and they support us in our efforts to complete our course work on a regular basis, our dealership in particular is also unique to the others in the Team Moto group, as our store is soo large and we provide quite a few new brands as a dealership, this filters through into the workshop and allows us to work on almost every brand of motorcycle that is currently produced, which helps accelerate our experience with these brands.