I am now a qualified Heavy Vehicle Technician, seven months earlier than my anticipated completion date, and work feels the exact same!
Am I disillusioned?
No. I knew it would feel like this.
For the last three and a half years my identity has been ‘apprentice diesel mechanic’. I never called myself just a ‘diesel mechanic’, the title of ‘apprentice’ was affixed to my identity like superglue on skin and I didn’t have the confidence to peel it off.
I knew that somewhere along my journey I would have to stop calling myself an ‘apprentice’. Not because one day I would qualify, but because if I didn’t stop calling myself an ‘apprentice’ I would never believe I was ready to identify as a ‘diesel mechanic’.
The confidence to leave the title ‘apprentice’ behind came at the start of my fourth year.
I started recognising my own certainty in diagnosing truck symptoms and fault codes, began to appreciate when I focused, I achieved more than I expected each day and I felt equipped for every job given to me. This awareness led me to feel I was ready to call myself a ‘diesel mechanic’, but it didn’t fool me to into thinking I was all-knowing or any more experienced than I had been the day before.
When the day finally came that I left my title as ‘apprentice’ behind I felt the exact same, came with the same amount of experience I had when I finished work the previous Friday and knew that the only real change that had occurred was in my title.
Finishing my apprenticeship early by seven months was an extremely rewarding feeling. It proved to me, once again, that a strong work ethic and positive attitude towards work and learning pays off, even if motivation fluctuates.
More than anything, I hope that my early completion can be an inspiration to the apprentices that follow me and an example that qualifying doesn’t mean the end of learning.
Please note: the included photo was taken before COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.