Award Winner Ellearn Savidis
Brimbank & Northwest Star Weekly | Melbourne 17 Nov 2015
Ellearn Savidis has always been fascinated by motors. Now 18, the Taylors Lakes apprentice mechanic has landed her dream gig – working for Mercedes Benz. She spoke to Ed Gardiner about her love of cars, being young and winning the Skilling Australia Foundation Development award.
How do you feel about your award?
Excited. I didn’t think I was going to get it, but I got a call and they said: “You’ve won for working hard in
a male-dominated environment”.
Talk me through a normal work day as an apprentice at Mercedes Benz.
In the morning, I check cars in before they get serviced. I wrap them up with seat covers and write down their kilometres and I do minor services, like brake changes for pads and discs. Then I might go and work with someone who is doing a bigger job and help them out as their second hand. Most of the time I’ll be with a mentor – one of the senior techs – who will supervise me doing the job.
When did you your interest in motors start?
I’ve been riding motorbikes and waterskiing with my family since I was three. My dad had his own motorcycle company so I’ve always been involved with motors. As I grew up I got even more interested as friends did their cars up, and I was helping dad with his business outside of school hours. I got my ‘Ps’ [probationary licence numberplates] on my 18th birthday.
What was growing up in Taylors Lakes like?
It was great; the park is around the corner from our court. All of the kids in the court would meet up after school and play soccer, tennis or basketball until it got dark. What are your challenges at work? It can get stressful, but most of the time, if I’m stressed out, I can go to someone and tell them. They usually tell me to take one job at a time and, if I don’t get it done, they’ll help me out. They won’t give me anything that I can’t do. I’ve had people here say: “You’re having a bad day, just come back tomorrow and it’ll be alright”. It’s good to hear.
Have you had to deal with any prejudice?
One person outside of work questioned my career. He said: “Don’t do mechanics, you’re a girl and it’s a heavy job.” I just said that I’m the same as any guy doing it. In the workshop they don’t treat me any differently. Things have changed a lot. My parents said that if I’d done this 20 years ago, I’d probably hear about it every day.
What are you longer-term career goals?
In five years, I’ll hopefully be a senior tech at Mercedes helping apprentices come through. Hopefully, there’ll be some more girls around who I can help. What interests you about mentoring? I’ve seen what you have to go through as an apprentice. It does become stressful sometimes and you question whether you’ll be able to do it. I’m 18 and most apprentices here would start when they’re 21, when you know what you want a bit more.
What would you say to upcoming apprentices?
You should finish year 12 first. I hated school, but I’m very happy my mum made me stay and finish year 12. You’re more mature at 18.