Douglas Marinclin – Procycles, St Peters ,Sydney. NSW- NSW Ultimo TAFE Sydney.
I’d like to start by saying thank you to the Ulysses Club Inc that has established this award, which recognises the hard work and commitment given by the apprentices to complete their apprenticeship at a high level. It’s a benefit to the motorcycle industry and apprentices alike.
I was born in Newtown to Croatian parents, my family grabbed the Aussie culture with both hands. My uncle was a mechanic and a big influence in my life. His ’67 Mustang and CB750 K2 are to blame for my horsepower passion! I have one younger brother who also shares the passion for hot rods, bikes, rock`n’roll, and muscle cars. I’m showing my age here, but I think the “Fonze” had something to do with it too!! Yes, I ride a Triumph!!!!
At the age of 10, my family moved to Liverpool. Back in 1980, it felt like a country town!! Through high school, my passion for horsepower and rock `n’ roll grew. I also started servicing and tinkering with the family car. Under the guidance of my mechanic uncle of course! He is a perfectionist. I also discovered the electric guitar and it was all over! I was good at school academically but wanted to pursue a trade as well as music. As far as careers go, I had a bit of a dilemma. I loved mechanic work but family and friends were saying, “It’s just fixing other people’s crap”. I chose cabinet making as I loved working with timber and it allowed me to follow my passion for guitar as well. During this time, I was restoring guitars and playing in bands. I completed my cabinet making apprenticeship and received awards for all three years of TAFE. Unfortunately, the trade wasn’t what I had expected. The market had moved away from quality and was more interested in cheaper, cheaper, cheaper! I was also tinkering with classic cars. I had a ’65 Falcon coupe, later a 65 Cortina and finally, a race spec RS2000 escort.
At the age of 30, I was overdue for a career change. At that time, I met my now wife. We got married, bought a house and a year later we had our first child, a beautiful cheeky boy! No chance to change careers, we were blessed with three children within five years. This created financial pressure, I was chasing jobs to earn more in order to support my family. At this point, my beloved RS2000 had to go, in order to pay for my son’s dental work!
I was also diagnosed with major depression, anxiety and PTSD at 30 years of age. Arising from childhood trauma and domestic violence, this was a rollercoaster ride of diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and many varying treatments and medications. Doctors were saying I may not work again. I had gone from a successful career of 16 years with the same company to barely holding down a job. At times I was ashamed to go home. I had spent so long looking after my family and had been neglecting myself. Four and half years ago, I admitted myself into hospital where I spent four weeks. I was also diagnosed with ADHD. The most important lesson I learnt was that I had to look after myself first, then I would be able to look after my family. It’s like the safety video in an airplane. You must first place the oxygen mask on yourself, then assist the people around you.
I decided to make my passion my career. It was the only way I could see myself re-entering the work force. I was told by some people that I was crazy to do an apprenticeship at 43. I told them I still had 25 years till retirement and would be crazy not to make the change! A month after I came out of hospital, I applied for a few jobs and was told I was overqualified and couldn’t get a go. A week later I applied for my current position at Procycles. I waited a few days and called them to follow up. I was told it would be a risky move for them as a lot of mature age apprentices don’t work out. I emailed them some photos of my cars as well as photos of guitars I had made. I followed up with more phone calls and was finally called in for an interview.
I got the job! Funnily enough, Procycles is down the road from where I originally grew up. 4 years on and I am fully qualified, happy and healthier than I’ve ever been. We also managed to have a fourth child, a cute boy to keep us even more busy! Amongst his first few words were “helmet” and “bike”.
I have to say a big thank you to Procycles owner Anthony Katter, for taking the chance and giving me the opportunity. Also, many thanks to Marcel Cross and Scott Norman our workshop manager for the ongoing support and training.
Last but not least, thanks to the teachers at TAFE NSW, Michael, Karl and Paul who love what they do and go above and beyond to help us learn. Their dedication certainly is an asset to our industry.
Moving forward, I would like to continue with further training and pursue the BMW Master Tech qualification. There’s also some custom bike work on the cards as well as a new shed with more tools!!!!! Maybe some more guitars……But no babies!
While my story is long, I have shared it with you to show others, who may be suffering from similar issues, that there is always a way out, a way forward. You need not suffer alone. Reach out. I kept my illness a secret for 15 years and it nearly cost me everything. Now that I have opened up about it, others have come back to me talking about their illness and suffering. They have gone on to seek help themselves.
Keep riding and stay safe!