Whincup helps drive Komatsu's Apprentice Program

Red Bull Racing star and four-time V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup has signed on as the mentor of an award-winning program designed to help Australians become future business leaders.

Whincup-Mentor-(1).jpgWhincup is taking 200 apprentices under his wing nationally as Komatsu's official apprentice mentor, visiting them personally as he tours Australia as part of the V8 Supercar season. Komatsu Australia is a leading supplier and distributor of state of the art heavy earthmoving equipment to the mining and construction industry sectors

Whincup was buoyant about the program after his first meeting in Adelaide in the lead-up to finishing on the podium at the Clipsal 500.

"I'm so happy to be able to give these young Komatsu apprentices a leg-up at the beginning of their new careers," he said.

"By mentoring them throughout this first stage, we are assisting them to develop the skills they need to go on to be the best in their fields."

"V8 Supercar racing is not a single-person sport without the rest of my team, I'd never be able to succeed.

"It's great to be able to demonstrate the benefits of teamwork to the apprentices."

Komatsu's National Apprentice Development Manager, Gavin Manning, said he couldn't be happier with the early results of Whincup's mentorship.

"Our apprentices here really look up to Jamie, so it's fantastic for him to devote his time to support them in their careers," Mr Manning said.

He explained that Whincup discussed the importance of teamwork and effective communication between all team members.

According to Mr Manning, Jamie and Komatsu want the apprentices to learn skills that extend beyond the workplace.

"We want our apprentices to develop as a whole person and the apprentice mentor program will be an important part of this process."

Mr Manning explained Whincup and Komatsu's focus with the apprentices is to focus on three distinct pillars of learning.

"We teach our apprentices technical skills, life skills and business skills, because we expect them to take up senior positions in Komatsu within six years of finishing their apprenticeships," Mr Manning said.

Daryl Bennett Komatsu's Area Manager for South Australia says, "The Adelaide apprentices had a great chat with Jamie and came away grinning and as pumped up as I've ever seen them.

First-year Heavy Diesel Fitter Apprentice KatherineBlair said Whincup spoke with her group about continuing support throughout their careers.

"Having Jamie speak with us about what it took to get from go-karts to the top of V8 Supercars really showed us what's possible with the right support and attitude."

"He never talked down to us; it always felt like he was interested in our careers, and I think the fact that he was so approachable made it much easier to learn from his experience."

Whincup will meet apprentices from Perth in May, Brisbane in July, Melbourne in September and Sydney in November as he defends his V8 Supercar title over the course of this year's race season.