Eli finishes apprenticeship

08 Mar 2024
The first step is always the hardest, but for 2020 NRL Cowboys House graduate Eli Taylor it’s also the most rewarding, after he converted a year-11 work experience stint with House partner AMA Group into a fully qualified trade.
The 22-year-old Waanyi and Ganggalidda man, who first stepped foot inside the Gemini Townsville automotive body shop as a shy Tec-NQ student whilst boarding far away from his home in Doomadgee, has celebrated the end of his panel beating apprenticeship surrounded by his AMA Group family.
While there were challenges along the way, Eli cuts a resilient and confident figure ready to tackle life’s opportunities as a fully-fledged tradesperson.

“The first step is the hardest because you don’t know what you’re stepping into, until you do a couple of weeks, a month, and then you get used to what you’re doing,” Eli said.

"I just believed in myself through every year and every month, tried my best to come to work every day. I wasn’t expecting to be where I am now from starting here through work experience, I got the apprenticeship and finally now it’s all done and dusted.
“Just never give up on whatever you think of chasing; it can be real challenging at the start but then you realise time and time again it only gets easier.”

Eli picked up a number of accolades during his apprenticeship including Paint & Panel’s 2022 Young Achiever of the Year and a future leader of the industry by The National Collision Repairer.
While his success has boiled down to one consistent trait – hard work – it’s been thanks to House partners AMA Group for supporting Eli along the way, nurturing and growing his talent whilst supporting the graduate who’s been living a long way from his family and community since he started at NRL Cowboys House.

For AMA Group’s North Queensland Area Manager Martin Dickinson, Eli’s graduation was a significant moment for him also.

“To see Eli become a tradesman is a proud moment for me, because he’s definitely one of those apprentices I’ve been fortunate to build more of a personal relationship with, so we want to continue to see his success and see where he can go from here now,” he said.
“To get that burden of an apprenticeship off him is a big thing, once you get rid of that you really start to excel - he’s a confident young man and he’s confident in his own abilities now.“Eli is now a tradesman so he can actually train an apprentice himself; he can share his stories and experiences to support them when they face difficult times.
“We’re just really supportive of what NRL Cowboys House do in providing opportunities, for us to be able to be a part of that transition and to support that to give Eli and other people an opportunity they may not otherwise have.”