First car fuelled driving passion

A YOUNG Wodonga woman who did up her first car when she was 17 has been named Volkswagen’s first-year mechanic apprentice of the year.

Lara Gibson, 23, now a second-year apprentice at Wodonga Prestige, was awarded the title against 76 others in the national Volkswagen apprenticeship program.

“I basically walked around the workshop going, ‘I won, I won, I won’,” she said.

Growing up, Miss Gibson remembers playing games such as Need For Speed on her brother’s Xbox but it was buying her first car that really fuelled her passion.

At 17 the former Wodonga Senior Secondary College student bought a 1964 Morris 1100.

It took her three years to get it on the road.

“I didn’t know anything about cars until I bought it,” Miss Gibson said.

“It was just interesting.”

She enrolled in pre-apprentice training at a TAFE in Canberra, where she was living with her sister, before she saw a job as an apprentice for Wodonga Prestige.

Prestige’s after sales manager David Benyon said he was at first worried how she would handle working in the all-male workshop but after he interviewed her, he knew she’d fit in.

“She’s got a good work ethic; you tell her something once and she just runs with it,” he said.

Miss Gibson said it helped growing up at Kiewa where most of her friends were boys.

“I’ve always been more comfortable drinking with the boys rather than getting ready with the girls,” she said.

She doesn’t know where the job will take her but she loves her work.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning, you know?”

She will have to work hard to fund her car collection, which has expanded to five (two Morris 1100s, a Morris Oxford, a Ford and Toyota).

She also got a taste for hot rods after a trip to the Bright Rod Run.

“I need one of those.”

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