Port Elizabeth’s Gawie Engelbrecht threw a spanner in the works when hew renched the coveted General Motors South Africa top-technician title from hundreds of hopefuls last week.
Attributing his success to hard work and determination, the 30-yearoldfrom Bridge mead trounced more than 320 technicians from the automotive giant’s 132 dealerships in South Africa to be named the best technician.
Now arguably one of the best Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu technicians in the country, Engelbrecht said yesterday he was still wrapping his head around the victory – secured at the General Motors Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre at Aloes.
Recently appointed as service manager at Williams Hunt Port Elizabeth, Engelbrecht bagged the win only 11years after starting as an apprentice at the dealership.
“I started working as a normal mechanic, but six months into the programme I asked to be transferred to the high-tech side, where I learnt everything I know,” Engelbrecht said.
“When I started, I didn’t think I would push myself this far, especially since I came from a poor family and didn’t have any formal education.”
The combination of his passion for cars and his curiosity and knowing what he wanted to achieve as a technician had prompted him to participate in the contest – which he said was exciting and challenging.
Engelbrechtsaid the contest involved tasks ranging from repairing an Isuzu bakkie and using diagnostic equipment, to a written theory test.
He found the second and final rounds of the test the most challenging.
“In the first round, we had to diagnose and repair an Isuzu bakkie that would not start, which was fairly easy.
“We then moved to the second round, where we were asked questions– and this is where our knowledge of products was tested,” he said.
Engelbrecht said the contest had ended with a 10-page theory test.
He had been shocked at winning the competition, as he had not expected to go beyond the top 10.“When I was informed that I was through to the top 10, for me that alone was a big achievement.
You can imagine how blown away I was when I was then announced as the winner. I still can’t believe it,” he said.
The title comes with a R30 000 cash prize and trip to Thailand to attend the international Isuzu 1 Grand Prix in November.