Thanks to the generosity of Ferris Auto Repairs and Repco Warrnambool, who donated $1,200 worth of tools to the MacKillop Family Services Christmas Appeal, a hard-working Hamilton teenager has been given the opportunity to kick-start his career as a diesel mechanic apprentice.
17-year-old Stephen* experienced a traumatic early childhood and has been in foster care since he was three years old. Stephen came to live with his long-term foster parents 14 years ago and the stability of his loving foster home has helped him to attend school regularly and plan for his future.
Stephen developed a love of cars and all things mechanical, thanks to the influence of his foster father, who is a diesel mechanic. It became Stephen’s dream to work as a mechanic and through determination and perseverance, he managed to secure a diesel mechanic apprenticeship just before Christmas.
The MacKillop Christmas Appeal was in full swing when Stephen’s foster mother, Jacqueline*, proudly told staff about his achievement and MacKillop’s Carer Recruitment and Development Worker, Tania Ferris, felt it was the perfect opportunity to reward Stephen for his hard work in securing the apprenticeship.
Stephen is an amazing young man and everyone here is proud of his achievement. When Jacqueline told us about Stephen’s apprenticeship, we wanted to find a way to reward his resolve and help his foster parents, who give selflessly to the three foster kids in their care.
“Two of these children have complex care needs and Christmas is an exceptionally busy time for the family, so sourcing the tools through the Appeal was the ideal way for MacKillop to support the family and allow the foster parents to concentrate on caring for the kids.
“When we looked into buying the tools, Ferris Auto Repairs and Repco Warrnambool were so impressed with Stephen’s story, they immediately offered to help by jointly supplying a tool kit and tool box to set him up for his future career,” added Tania.
Andrew Keane, Manager of Repco Warrnambool, was delighted to give a helping hand to the budding mechanic and his family.
“Stephen’s story resonated strongly with us and it is a pleasure to be able to provide the tools which will help Stephen secure his future. Our business regularly gets requests for donations but this one was very special because it’s giving a young lad, who has had a rough start, a leg up in our own industry.”
Ferris Auto Repair’s Andrew Ferris was also keen to help Stephen get started.
“We’ve had young people come to us for work experience in the past and we know about the hard work it takes to secure an apprenticeship. It can be difficult to get a start these days and helping supply the tools was something practical we could do to help this young man on the road to becoming a mechanic.”
Stephen’s foster mother says the family has been overwhelmed by the support in their local community.
“We are very proud of Stephen getting the apprenticeship and it’s fantastic to see that other people also want to help him succeed. We’ve been foster parents for many years and we’ve always worked to provide everything that the kids need so it was such a surprise when we heard through the Appeal that the tool kit had been donated for Stephen. Stephen’s foster father worked as a mechanic and it’s wonderful to see that others in the industry want to help a young lad start his own career as a diesel mechanic.”
*Names changed to protect identity