Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador: Dusti-lee Franchi

For Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador Dusti-lee Franchi, an Australian Apprenticeship has allowed her to explore a career choice in Vehicle Painting.

“I wanted to be a hairdresser and when I found out it wasn’t for me I looked at what I enjoyed most and it was cars. I applied for work experience at a local paint and panel shop and absolutely loved it.”

Based in South Perth, Dusti-lee trained at South Metropolitan TAFE and is currently employed by Stokes and Renk Panel and Paint. She says the best part about her skill is “seeing the end result”.

“You see what all of your hard work has achieved and it makes it all worth it. The end result is so satisfying, especially knowing that you’re going to make the customer very happy.”

At just 22 years of age, Dusti-lee has received the Gold Medal at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition held in Melbourne, appointed as an Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador and most recently awarded the National Collision Repairer Future Leader Award.

Dusti-lee says participating in a WorldSkills competition is a “career changer” and anyone thinking about it should “just go for it”.

“Not everyone gets this chance and you would be crazy to turn it up. It has been a life changing experience … it has definitely helped me further my skills in many different ways and made me into a better person.”

A proud and determined Australian

Dusti-lee was offered the opportunity to become an Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador after winning the Gold Medal at the WorldSkills Australia National Competition.

“It feels great to be part of the ambassador’s program and be part of a strong group of leaders.”

Although she feels nervous about speaking to her first group of students as part of her ambassador duties, Dusti-lee says that her best piece of advice to give to others who are interested in becoming an Australian Apprenticeship is “to undertake work experience to get a feel for it. That’s what I did and it was the best thing I ever did”.

Looking to the future

Dusti-lee is also one of Australia’s elite international team – the Skills Squad – who will spend the next several months training with a dedicated skills mentor, Brad Franklin, vying for the opportunity to join over 1,000 young people from 75 countries at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 in October.

“It would be amazing,” says Dusti-lee about representing her country in Vehicle Painting. “Words cannot explain how honoured I would feel. I would make Australia proud and give it my all, hopefully bringing home a gold medal”. Also assisting her to reach Abu Dhabi is Axalta, a gold partner of WorldSkills and proud supporter of young professionals coming up in the vehicle paining industry.

Joining the leaders in their field

Being an Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador, Dusti-lee joins the likes of popular sportspersons, acclaimed chefs, and television personalities such as Kevin Sheedy, Neil Perry, and Scott Cam.