James Simonis is an award-winning former student who completed his Certificate III in Automotive (Heavy Vehicle) apprenticeship at Chisholm.
In 2015 he started Jascon Equipment, which specialises in repairing mobile plant equipment and Volvo engines. He works on a variety of machines used by his clients in the construction, quarry, forestry and road transport industries across Victoria. Jascon Equipment also has an equipment rental arm where they hire out to clients.
We recently caught up with James to see how he is doing in the workforce.
After completing his apprenticeship James started his own business, Jascon Equipment, in 2015. The decision to become a business owner came about from his long standing passion to work for himself.
“I decided to start my own business. It all happened rather quickly where I made the choice that it was better for myself financially, take care of my own interests and really establish customer relations of my own”.
James says that the business is doing better than he could ever have imagined. With numerous prospective clients and a steady list of repeat clients, James reputation and expert knowledge in Volvo machinery ensures he stands out from the rest. Most clients are through word of mouth and James’s reputation.
Since identifying a gap in the market for a mobile, heavy vehicle mechanic two years ago, James has been his own boss and now employs an apprentice who will study at Chisholm – just as he did.
James says he looks forward to sharing his knowledge and skills with the next generation and hopes his apprentice will have the same positive experience he had at Chisholm, where the teachers “really pushed me to move forward and expand my knowledge”.
As an employer James wants to give his apprentice a positive experience by treating him with respect and empowering him to learn as much as he can and provide the same opportunities that were presented to him.
As a student James won multiple awards including the 2013 Chisholm Apprentice of the Year. “The awards were a great motivator for me to push year after year to get better and better. I managed to (do that) throughout the whole apprenticeship.
“To be awarded every year from my first year onwards…the recognition from my peers was fantastic to motivate me, to push me to go further and ultimately put me where I am today.”
Remembering his time at Chisholm fondly, James keeps in touch occasionally.
“It’s not as often as I would like, but I do keep in contact with the teachers… they really pushed me to move forward and expand on my knowledge. I’m thankful that they did that… so I’ve made sure that I keep in contact with them as much as I can”.
His advice to those thinking about pursuing a career in the mobile plant or heavy-vehicle repair industry would be to find a niche within the market.
“I would definitely suggest finding a niche within the market. I specifically chose Volvo machinery because they are quite complicated, and not a lot of people know them. To have the niche skills is definitely an advantage when it comes to starting your own business… because the less of you there are, the more potential there is to get clients.”