Emma is heading into her second-year of a four-year apprenticeship to become a mechanic at Ferrari Brisbane in Queensland. From the outside it could be said that Emma is lucky to be in such a position, but luck is made where persistence meets skill.
Having bought her first car at 17, which was a very tidy granny-owned 2003 Mitsubishi Mirage, Emma started doing her own basic maintenance on it. She has been tinkering on cars ever since, and now at 22 Emma’s current project is rebuilding the engine out of her 1992 Mazda MX-5.
After applying for numerous automotive apprenticeships when she was 18 and never making it past a few interviews, Emma ended up going to university. There she studied design and visual communication, as her other love is art, however she dropped out during her second year as it just wasn’t something she could see herself turning into a career.
While working at an automotive parts store, a co-worker told Emma that he saw a job opening for an apprenticeship with Ferrari Brisbane. That night, Emma looked it up. At this point she had almost given up on the idea of being a technician and wasn’t expecting anything to come from applying. Having nothing to lose, Emma tried applying one last time. And after a year in the job, Emma still can’t believe it!
“I’ve always loved cars. I played with Hot Wheels as a kid, watched the V8 Supercars on TV and I loved the Herbie movies. One of my favourite photos from my childhood is of me in a Holden shirt with my grandpa and we’re standing next to his Holden Commodore,” Emma told Driven Women Magazine.
Admitting she didn’t actually know a lot about Ferraris when she started, Emma has come to appreciate and respect the design and craftsmanship that goes into each car. Being a small dealership compared to other brands, working at Ferrari Brisbane makes it feel a bit more like a family for Emma.
Located in the heart of Brisbane’s luxury precinct, Newstead, Ferrari Brisbane’s state-of-the-art showroom is everything Ferrari. With the complete range of new model Ferrari’s and an impressive selection of pre-owned models plus the service department, after market accessories, lifestyle merchandise and financial services are all on hand at Ferrari Brisbane.
Visitors are invited to indulge in their Atelier zone and browse the displays of new and iconic models on the showroom floor. Ferrari Brisbane’s passion for performance cars is matched only by their passion for client service and commitment to offering clients a relationship that is in keeping with the excellence of these Italian masterpieces.
“I’m very lucky to be here, and I’m doing my best to make the most out of this experience. Getting to learn through working on unique cars and being given opportunities not available in most apprenticeships, such as being part of a race team and getting to travel,” continued Emma.
Every day is different for Emma. Usually, she will work alongside the Master Tech. Sometimes doing basic services, sometimes rebuilding components on a classic Ferrari. Emma is also part of the dealership’s race team, so she gets to travel interstate and work as a pit crew member maintaining their customers’ race cars at various tracks around the country. The variety of cars is what Emma enjoys most about working on Ferraris.
“This is one of the only brands where you could work on a brand-new hybrid vehicle, like an SF90, a purpose-built track car, like a 488 Challenge and something a bit more classic, like a Testarossa, all in a single day. Having such variety definitely keeps it interesting and makes for great learning opportunities.
“To be honest, all Ferraris have their own quirks and charms when working on them. They’re not all the same, but I do love the older cars we’ve had in, such as a 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a couple of 246 Dinos. Not a lot of apprenticeships would have you working on carburettors these days. I find understanding the mechanics and technology used in older cars very interesting,” said Emma.
When Emma first started it was a bit daunting for her being the only female in the workshop, but her co-workers were a supportive group who never made Emma feel less capable than them. Being the smallest person in the service department and not the strongest means Emma has learned to work around these challenges by using the right tools and getting creative.
“The biggest thing I’ve learnt so far is that it’s OK to ask for help, even if you aren’t physically strong you have other strengths, and your co-workers will appreciate it when you return the favour,” shared Emma.
One day Emma hopes to achieve her Master Technician qualification with Ferrari. It takes years of experience on the job and honing of problem-solving skills.
“I’m not sure where I would go from there, but there are opportunities that branch out from Master Tech. It sets you up to advance your career, so I think it’s a good goal. Also, an opportunity offered to Master Techs is training abroad, which would be a great way to see the world,” said Emma.
When I asked Emma what else she wanted to share with Driven Women Magazine she replied, “If you are struggling to figure out your path in life, don’t stress! I’ve learnt it’s never too late to take a dive and try new things. One day you’ll find the thing that fulfils you, and you may even surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.”
Emma’s hard work and persistence has seen her thrive in the technically challenging environment of a Ferrari service department. Proving that a few knockbacks should not stop you from applying for your dream job, just one more time.