MACHINE MAN: Heavy vehicle mechanic David McAlister wins the NSW top apprentice award.
MACHINE MAN: Heavy vehicle mechanic David McAlister wins the NSW top apprentice award.

Grease monkey tops his trade

By JULIA ILES

A GRAFTON local has won a prestigious training award in a state-wide competition against hundreds of motor apprentices.

David McAlister was named the state's top apprentice in vehicle trades at the 2005 NSW Training Awards.

Last month, the 21-year-old was flown to Sydney and presented with a trophy during a ceremony at the Sydney Convention Centre.

It was attended by more than 800 people, and Triple J personality Adam Spencer was the Master of Ceremonies (MC).

"I didn't expect to win and it was great when they called my name out," David said.

"I've always been interested in cars and would play around with them when I was younger."

During his apprenticeship, David travelled from Grafton to Tamworth TAFE for week-long blocks of study.

"I found most things easy, but a few things I didn't know and they took time to get the gist of," he said.

His four-year apprenticeship was cut short by six months due to his high marks.

In the past he's also won the North Coast region and the Norm Beatton awards for top apprentices.

The advice David gives to others pursuing a vocational trade is to be patient, as despite the lack of money, it's worth it in the end.

He now works as a heavy vehicle transport technician for Cummin's Engine Group.

David is also a relative of the current President of Ireland Mary McAleese ? his father Bernard is her second cousin.



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