SBAT graduate hopes to mentor next generation of apprentices

From school-based apprentice to business owner, Daniel Lee is proof that vocational education opens up endless career pathways.

Image: Daniel Lee, SBAT graduate and business owner

Daniel Lee graduated high school in 2014 after completing a school-based School-based apprenticeships and traineeship (SBAT) in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology. The 25 year old from south-west Sydney now runs his own mobile motor mechanic business and is hoping to bring on an SBAT student to mentor.

Like many young people, Daniel thought he would follow in his Dad’s footsteps and that meant working in the timber trade. But it was watching his father and his friends work on hot rods in their garage at home that sparked Daniel’s true passion for cars. Knowing what to do with that passion was the next step.

After overhearing his art teacher in year 10 outlining the details of an SBAT to other students, Daniel knew it could be the solution to keep himself and his parents happy.

He was able to balance the best of both worlds as he spent 3 days at school, 1 day at TAFE NSW and 1 day at work, gaining hands-on experience as a mechanic.

“Completing an SBAT set me up for success, being able to complete my HSC and get a head start on my apprenticeship put me in a great position to start my business early on in my career," Daniel said. "My traineeship gave me countless opportunities, never did I think I would be able to work on my dream car, a 70 Dodge Charger at the age of 16!” he added.

When Daniel graduated from high school he had already completed the equivalent of the first year of his apprenticeship. The SBAT gave him his career head start and helped him enter the workforce with confidence. While finishing his apprenticeship, Daniel also gained the business knowledge to set up his own business.

“I own my own business, I choose my hours and my jobs and have complete flexibility over my career,” Daniel notes.

Today, Daniel continues to combine the best of both worlds.

“From this, I was able to buy my own property in Binnaway. This will be my project over the years. I plan to build my own shed on the acreage to work on cars.”

We asked Daniel what the one piece of advice he would give to anyone considering taking up an SBAT.

“If you want to get ahead, go for it!”

Daniel is now hoping to come full circle and bring on board an SBAT student to mentor at his own business. “Now that I’m running my own mobile mechanic business, I’m hoping to bring on a student to provide the same head start and opportunities that were given to me."

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