Able Seaman Justin Macey has been recognised as the 2013 Illawarra Apprentice of the Year by the Illawarra Vocational Training Committee (IVTC).
Justin, an aircraft maintenance engineer with 723 Squadron, was nominated by his instructors at the Royal Australian Navy’s Training Authority Aviation (TA-AVN) for his work in completing his Certificate IV in Aeroskills.
TA-AVN is responsible for all aviation-related training in the RAN and TA-AVN Director, Commander Tim Standen, said he valued Justin’s award as community recognition of, not only Justin’s abilities, but Navy training values.
“Navy is a world-class trainer, and we take great pride in our standards, our instructors and of course, trainees like Justin,” CMDR Standen said.
“Justin was nominated because he impressed on many levels. His instructors commented favourably on the quality of his journal and the time it took him to complete his apprenticeship and commended Justin for being skilful, motivated and having a positive influence on other employees.”
Justin a mature age student of 38, joined the Navy four years ago.
“I managed my own coffee shop prior to joining up but I was looking for something more,” Justin said, “something better suited to my family and personal needs. I like structure, I like to be able to modify things and improve them, to see positive changes and know I’m moving forward and I’ve always been interested in aviation so the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm ticked all the boxes for me.”
The Vocational Training Committee was particularly impressed by Justin’s enthusiasm for the industry and ability to maintain a balance between his work, studies and family life.
Justin, who has been in the Navy for four years said achieving this balance hasn’t always been easy, especially since he has three teenage children. “I’ve really had to prioritise and work to a schedule so that there was time for work, time for training and time for my family.”
“Fortunately the training I received was excellent with a really good structure and set up and one thing I really appreciated was that I always knew what to expect next.”
“I had some great instructors too, knowledgeable and supportive and while some were incredibly strict, they were determined to make sure you got through.”
Justin said his main reaction was one of shock when he heard of his nomination and that he was even more surprised by his win. “I researched the previous winners,” he said “and thought I didn’t have a chance – they’d all done these incredible things.”
Asked about future goals Justin said he was still in the learning phase. “I’ve just finished my apprenticeship so I want to gain knowledge and confidence, but since they say there is no better way to learn than to teach, I think I’d ultimately like to work as an instructor at TA-AVN.”