Damien Kleyn

Skilled Futures - Autobody Repair


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Firstly I would like to thank BBM Youth Support for this amazing opportunity. I can  honestly say that this experience will be one that will continue to affect my work for many years to come. I learnt a great deal and got a whole new perspective of the industry I work in and to understand different techniques.

I would also like to thank the work place I worked at in England. They really made the effort to make me feel welcomed and valued my time. They taught me a great deal and I wish I could have spent more time learning from them and being part of their team.

I left for England on the 2nd of October and stayed in a town called Cressing in Essex. I was very lucky to have an apartment right next door to my work place, Clark and Carter.

I was able to walk to my work which made it easier not having to take public transport. The reason I chose this place was because I was very interested in finding a place that did restoration and similar work to the company I work for in Australia as this is the field I am interested in. I did a lot of research on the company before contacting them and found they were one of the best Rolls Royce repairers in the world. This was very interesting to me as I have never done work on a car with so much history and worth, or ever restored something with such precision. The work they did was to a perfect standard and nothing was ever out of place which caused me to have a great deal of respect for the company. I was able to meet some interesting people where I worked, I worked closely alongside a guy from New Zealand and he taught me a lot about working sheet metal and how to hand make panels for the cars. I have never done this before, especially not using the old school techniques and machinery that is unique to English history.

I could not have got this kind of experience or training anywhere else. I also had a lot of help from Georgie, the receptionist. She dealt with all the interaction between myself and the company while I was still in Australia, she also helped a lot with my visas and accommodation, car hire etc. She also went above and beyond to make my self and my wife comfortable – even offering work to my wife while we were there. She did a great job and I was very thankful to be able to ask any questions I needed.

Cressing itself was a very small town just outside of Braintree. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by my wife on the trip and we were very quickly introduced to friends of work mates and of the couple we stayed with. We really got to experience the real-life style of Essex and felt very comfortable and welcomed. The main attraction of Cressing was the old barns not far from where we lived. They are known as one of the oldest standing wooden barns in the world.

We had a chance to visit these and spent a weekend in London itself to do some exploring.

If you have the opportunity to apply for this Award I truly think its an awesome opportunity that you cannot pass up. If anyone is interested in working at the same work place I’d be happy to pass on information, as I think it was well worth the trip and I don’t think there are many places like Clark and Carter. I also recommend staying close to where you work as it was so easy and cheap for me to get to work so that took the pressure off me when we arrived. I also recommend staying with some locals as it was great to have someone that knows the area and could give advice and even did some driving around for us which was great. I also recommend making sure you find somewhere you really want to work and learn as you may only get once chance to do it. I am so glad I did so much research and found the right place for me so that there were no disappointments.

We arrived back in Australia in mid-December as this was the time I was given off my work in Australia. However Clark and Carter offered me more work and offered to help fund me to come back and continue working for them. This was a great compliment and we hope one day we can take them up on this offer. I really enjoyed the work I did for them and would have loved to stay even longer and learn so much more as I truly believe that they have so much knowledge and different techniques to what I have already learnt in Australia. I will be able to use that knowledge to further my work in Australia and use it to change the way I do things now. It also great for me if I ever were to move on from my workplace as I have the extra experience to excel in all areas of the industry. I included some photos below, but unfortunately I was only allowed to use these photos as the cars are all one of a kind and some of the customers did not want photos taken of their cars.

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