Maintenance Products

Willingness to learn pays off for school ambassador

Mitch Gimm?s story is one that gets quite a few people excited. And it?s no wonder.

The 18-year old is running a $4 million plant in a supervisory role with Holcim in Queensland, has just won the Australian Vocational Student Prize after a nomination from his old school and his current boss, and is saving to buy his first home. In Mitch?s words, ?Life is pretty good.?

But his journey could have easily taken a different path if not for his time as a Beacon Student Ambassador at his school, Forest Lake State High School in Brisbane, and his exposure to the construction field.

?At first, I wasn?t sure about Beacon, I just thought ?sweet?, it was a day off school!? he recalls.

But his role as an ambassador helping to organise a My Futures Expo, industry breakfasts, charter signing events and student conferences for his fellow year 10 cohort, led to a networking opportunity with an industry representative from Holcim.

?I got a real eye opener of what could be beneficial to me. It helped me see what opportunities were out there,? he says.

With a casual job under his belt, several stints of work experience in a variety of fields and a Certificate I in work education, Mitch was keen to pursue a traineeship.

Forest Lake SHS teacher Leanne Randolph recalls Mitch?s persistence to follow up with the industry representative and it paid off when he was awarded a traineeship with Holcim. Leanne was more than happy to later provide an endorsement for Mitch?s successful nomination in the Australian Vocational Student Prize in 2009 for year 12 students who demonstrate excellence while undertaking a VET subject at school.

The award gave Mitch more than the $2000 cash prize; it gave him further confidence. His maturity is evident in the way he recognises the value of the award on his resume.

This is something his mum, Cindy, is very proud of as well. ?Mitchell always seems to amaze me. The Beacon programme gave Mitchell the opportunity to get a head start in his working career and he was very lucky to be offered a full-time position with Holcim as soon as he left school,? she said.

But luck had little to do with it. Mitch has an impressive work ethic and commitment, which helped him make it to work for 5:00am starts during his traineeship, a trait not lost on his supervisor, Terry Bird, who proudly says his star recruit never missed an early start, and often had to walk over a kilometre to get back home at the end of the day.

?Mitch showed initiative, was keen and willing to learn and ask questions,? Terry said.

?All staff involved in his training have been highly impressed with his willingness to learn, his attention to detail and his overall enthusiasm to learn about the construction industry.?

Terry Bird quite simply says Mitchell is a success story.

?I?ve never seen another kid do what he has done. He has demonstrated qualities that all young Australians should aspire to.?

Mitch?s own determination has been the driver of his success.

Now with his Certificate III in Manufactured Mineral Products, Mitch is a valued full-time employee with Holcim, and recently addressed the IQA and CCAA?s joint Construction Material Industry Conference in Queensland, alongside Beacon chief executive Scott Harris, to tell of his journey.

He spends his work days in a supervisory role, ordering raw material, overseeing 2000 tonnes of material going through the plant daily and managing the truck drivers, wash-outs and transfers to other plants.

?Now I?m a long-term Holcim employee, there are so many things I can learn. I?m going to stay here as long as I can and pursue a good career within Holcim,? Mitch vows. ?It?s a good company, a big company and there is plenty here for me and the years ahead.?

He hasn?t ruled out the top job either, joking that being Holcim?s CEO one day would be fine by him!

Source: Beacon Foundation

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