As we continue celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, we are proud to highlight some of the program's stellar apprentices like Levi Willis. Since its inception in 2021, the Apprenticeship Program has attracted the participation of 23 area businesses, including Flowers Honda, which is where Levi is currently working while finishing up Automotive coursework. Levi has excelled at work and in class and is now on the path to a fulfilling career; truly a shining example of the power of apprenticeships!
Q: What drew you to a career in the automotive field?
A: As a child, I was always interested in helping my stepfather change the oil in the cars, and my uncle was a school bus mechanic for the Richmond County School system for my entire life. When I got my first car, I helped my uncle with doing repairs on it, and it was very fun for me. Those experiences are what eventually led to me entering the automotive field.
Q: What led you to choose SRTC’s Automotive program specifically?
I specifically chose the SRTC Automotive program because my husband attended SRTC. He told me about how great the school is, so that’s where I decided to go.
Q: How did the apprenticeship program benefit you?
The apprenticeship program has greatly benefited me and my life. I was able to get placed at a full-time job in the automotive field, and through the program, I was able to buy all the tools I need for my job and a toolbox to put them in.
Q: How did you come by your current job?
I was placed at my job through the apprenticeship program.
Q: What goals do you have for your life and career now?
My goals for my life and career are to become a certified master technician through both ASE certification and Honda certification.
Q: What were your greatest successes as a college student?
My greatest successes as a college student have been staying on the Dean’s List for all four semesters I have completed so far.
Q: What were your greatest challenges as a college student?
My greatest challenges as a college student have been having to come home late on the nights I go to class. I miss my son’s bedtime on those nights, but I know I’m only doing this to better my family’s life. That makes it worth it.
Q: Who were/are your biggest supporters?
My husband, my son, and my best friend are my biggest supporters. My husband takes care of our son on the days that I have class, so I don’t have to worry about him. My best friend gives me constant advice and support. My son calls me a “car doctor” and says he wants to do what I do when he grows up.
Q: How do your family and friends feel about you choosing this college and career path?
My family and friends are very positive and supportive with my choice of college and career. They’re constantly telling me how proud they are of me.
Q: How do you feel about your college and career path now that you are working in the field?
Now that I’m working in the automotive field, and have been for a year, I feel great about my choice of college and career path. I came into the field as an SRTC student with my only experience being basic oil changes as a child, and minor maintenance as a teenager, and I have excelled so far.
Q: What did you enjoy about your time at SRTC?
What I enjoy the most about my time at SRTC are my automotive instructor and my fellow classmates. Mr. Nawolski is a great teacher, and my fellow classmates are all fun to work with, friendly, and great people.
Q: Do you remember any particular lessons or advice that you found particularly useful or important ?
One big lesson I’ve learned in my field is “Always check your torque”. As my instructor, Mr. Nawolski, would say, “It is never okay to be driving down the road, and have your own tire fly past you.”
Q: What advice would you give individuals who are considering a career in the automotive field?
Never be afraid to ask questions when you’re first learning, and never be afraid to make mistakes. Asking questions and making mistakes are how people learn. Also, if you do make a mistake, never hide it. Admit your mistakes immediately and openly.
Q: Do you have any college or career tips to share with students who are struggling to hold it all together as far as life, family, school, work?
If you are a student struggling to hold it together, ask someone for help. I myself have recently been struggling to hold it all together after the death of my father, and I kept it to myself for so long that it started to effect to my performance as an auto tech, a student, a spouse, and a parent. I finally asked for help, and I was honest with my husband, my best friend, and my instructor. I am now getting what help I need because I was honest and just asked for it. Never be afraid to ask for help.