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Holden’s top apprentice and GM’s top Aussie supplier

Bright sparky: Chris Wilksch’s positive attitude and commitment to learning helped secure him the coveted RM Weekley Award – and a job at Holden Vehicle Operations.

Wilksch named Holden’s apprentice of year as Mett wins eighth GM top supplier gong

Holden logo12 Apr 2012

GM HOLDEN has named electrician Chris Wilksch as its 2011 Apprentice of the Year and Victorian firm Mett Pty Ltd has again featured in General Motors’ prestigious global Supplier of the Year awards.

Mr Wilksch, 33, was presented with the coveted RM Weekley Award, which has been awarded to the top final-year apprentice at the Australian manufacturer since 1968.

Holden says the award is based on a range of criteria, from academic marks and technical skills to behaviour and attitude.

Mr Wilksch completed his four-year electrical apprenticeship in January, and now works in the South Body Shop at Holden Vehicle Operations in South Australia, where the company currently has 64 apprentices on site.

“It’s a humbling experience to be named Holden’s 2011 RM Weekley Award winner,” he said.

“It really is a team effort at Holden and I wouldn’t have learnt as much as I have or be where I am now without the support of my workmates and supervisors.”

Holden’s plant technical manager Faiyaz Khan said Mr Wilksch was a worthy winner.

“Whether it is feedback from his direct supervisor, workmates or TAFE, across the board they all praised his attitude and commitment to his learning and work,” he said.

 center imageLeft: Mett Manufacturing. Below: GM vice-president of global purchasing and supply chain Bob Socia.

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based aluminium castings supplier Mett picked up its eighth GM Supplier of the Year award at a ceremony held recently at the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

Mett was the sole Australian recipient from a group of 82 companies representing 13 countries in this year’s 20th annual awards presentation.

GM’s vice-president of global purchasing and supply chain Bob Socia paid tribute to the US auto giant’s suppliers, all of whom have continued to weather tough economic conditions over the past year.

“The Supplier of the Year award is always special but those suppliers recognised this year (for 2011) have risen above and beyond the call during one of the most challenging years in GM history,” he said.

“In 2012, we will continue to improve supplier relations to achieve a world-class supply chain focused on quality, capacity management and total cost.”

Other Australian component manufacturers will be hoping to make inroads into GM’s worldwide supply chain this year, following Holden’s commitment last month to set up a new ‘Suppliers’ Working Group’.

The commitment came as the federal government announced a new $35 million, four-year program designed to enable parts-makers expand their operations and win new contracts, primarily overseas and outside the automotive industry.

This is an addition to the $275 million in government funding that has enabled Holden to commit to a 10-year, billion-dollar manufacturing program based on two all-new next-generation global vehicle platforms.

GM says its Supplier of the Year winners are chosen by a global team of GM purchasing, engineering, quality, manufacturing and logistics executives.

Seat and electric components supplier Lear Corporation was named ‘Corporation of the Year’.

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