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Female technician crowned Toyota’s best

Natasha Smith reaches highest mark in Toyota Australia’s national skills competition

2 Dec 2019

NATASHA Smith from Motorama Toyota in Brisbane, Queensland, has taken out the coveted technician category in Toyota Australia’s annual national skills competition. 


The 22-year-old’s achievement makes her the first female in not only Australia but across the Toyota world, where programs are run in a comparable format, to reach this mark in what is still a male-dominated industry. 


Now in its 35th year, the competition is held in more than 90 countries and is designed to test the technical knowledge and skills of dealer staff across six categories: technician, diagnosis technician, service adviser, guest experience manager, parts sales and sales walkaround. 


Ms Smith and the 29 other finalists – five in each category – had won their way through to the premier event after excelling in preliminary roundsagainst service staff from across Toyota’s Australian retail network of more than 250 dealerships. 


In the final held at Toyota Australia headquarters in Port Melbourne recently, Ms Smith proved to be the standout contestant in the challenges presented, which included stripping and replacing a continuously variable transmission, adjusting manual transmission gear ratios and having knowledge of the relevant repair manual tested.


Competitors were judged by a panel of experts and worked in front of dealer staff, TAFE executives and senior Toyota management.


“Knowing the quality of skills of the guys I was competing against was very high, winning the category title is an incredible achievement that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Ms Smith said.


“The quality of the Toyota network training program, together with the great support of my workshop team and the advice of my exceptional trainers, is what gave me the necessary skills to take out the title.”


Ms Smith was raised on a farm where she worked on machinery alongside her father, and only completed her apprenticeship in February this year, graduating from the program in three-and-half years – six months earlier than usual.


Toyota vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley described Ms Smith as “an outstanding example of how anyone with apassion for their craft can excel”.


“It’s that level of service across all of our business that we aim to deliver for our guests,” he said.


“I would like to congratulate all of our 2019 national champions whose skills and knowledge epitomise the high-quality guest service Toyota offers.”


In the other categories, Ashley Humm from Blood Toyota in Geelong was crowned diagnosis technician champion, Matthew Cleverley from City Toyota in Perth took out theservice adviser title andstate compatriot Mitchell Whanfrom Grand Toyota Wangara was named parts sales champion.


The South Australians also had a good run with Mary Foster from Jarvis Toyota in Adelaide winning the guest experience manager class, while Jason Bentley from Peter Kittle Toyota (also inAdelaide) was named sales walkaround champion.

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