Mitchell Channer

Mitch smiling and leaning on Deere tractor

Meet Mitchell Channer

As he shares what it means to be the 2022 Australia & New Zealand Parts Apprentice of the Year.

Trainee's knowledge is beyond his years

When customers deal with Mitch Channer in the parts workshop of AFGRI Equipment in Perth, they're often surprised to learn that he's still a trainee.

"Mitch's in-depth knowledge of the John Deere product range is beyond his years, and he has a real knack for problem solving," explained his manager, Matt Utley.

"He does a fantastic job embracing the daily challenges of his role in supplying our customers with parts and we're all really proud of the hard work he puts in. He's a very valued member of our team in South Guildford."

Mitch has only been in the role of parts apprentice for less than two years, but in August he was awarded as the John Deere 2022 Parts Apprentice for Australia and New Zealand.

"It was a fantastic feeling to take out the award," Mitch said.

"I was a bit nervous at the judging, I thought I did well but the other finalists did too, so I wasn't sure I had a chance. I felt really proud to be representing AFGRI and my branch.

"The best thing about this job is it's always different. We never work on the same machine every day, and you never feel like you know everything. You get more knowledgeable but then there'll be something that'll stump you and you can learn more from."

Mr Channer is one of a team of five in the parts section of AFGRI Equipment and works alongside sales representatives and a parts mechanic. His clients are a mix of farmers and mining and earthmoving companies, so they sell a lot of grader parts and service heavy machinery.

Growing up in Perth, Mitch had always been interested in how machines work and was familiar with tractors and farm machinery from visiting his aunt, who had a small property outside Toodyay. After finishing school, he did a little bit of everything, from tiling and labouring jobs to chef work, and was looking for the next job when he spotted the ad for a parts apprentice online.

"I guess it was a spontaneous thing, I applied and managed to get the job. My goal is to continue learning and potentially get into sales and sell the bigger machines in the regional branches. That's where it's at," Mitch said.

Mr Channer had some advice for anyone who's considering a job in the industry.

"I'd say give it a go. It's not just a job, it gives you a real kick start compared to other roles. Fixing up a car and understanding machinery is part of everyday life, and it saves you a hell of a lot of money if you know a bit about it!" he said.

At the awards ceremony John Deere Australia & New Zealand managing director, Luke Chandler, reiterated the importance of encouraging young talent to flourish.

"Apprentices are the industry's next generation, and this group of ambitious, hardworking and talented young people is a clear indication that our sector is in safe hands," Mr Chandler said.

"Year on year, dealerships commit to training and upskilling both the field service and parts apprentices across rural and regional Australia and New Zealand. These apprentices will go on to provide critical back-up support to farmers and our construction and forestry customers to help them fully grasp the opportunities of our precision technologies."