Meet Hasting Deerings’ Evan Crisafulli, North Queensland’s Apprentice of the Year

Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has setbacks, it's not just me.
Most important is how you approach the setback and talk to yourself about it.

Ambitious is an apt description for 22-year-old engineer, Evan Crisafulli,  who hails from sugarcane town Abergowrie in the Shire of Hinchinbrook, Queensland, Australia.  A middle child, at 18, Evan decided he would take on an apprenticeship 140 kilometres away from home to join Hastings Deering in Townsville, fuelled by a passion to “pull things apart and putting it back together” and a mentor, Peter Hinrichsen, who Evan’s parents called his “Townsville dad”.

It is no surprise therefore that shortly after being recognised as Hastings Deering’s Apprentice of the Year this year, Evan received the North Queensland Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year at the 2022 Queensland Training Award, outshining three other finalists from the region. The award is presented to individuals undertaking an apprenticeship and has been outstanding in all aspects of their training and have demonstrated the relevance of lifelong learning.

A go-getter wise beyond his years, Evan shares his journey with Sime Darby Industrial’s Australian subsidiary Hastings Deering.

  1. Can you briefly share your work during the apprenticeship?

    I first embarked on a Diesel Fitter Apprenticeship in Townsville in 2018. Over the three and a half years, I worked on construction and infrastructure equipment, rebuilt many components and spent some time in field service. When I completed my apprenticeship, I wanted a scenery change and became interested in big mining machines, so I moved to Mackay.

  2. How do you adapt to the work transition where you will lead as a qualified diesel fitter, and what are your expectations?

    I suppose there are certain expectations. You go from being an apprentice where you are not fully independent to a qualified tradesperson who is expected to be independent most of the time. 

    I think the challenge is going from an apprentice where someone will check my work, to a qualified tradesperson where people expect good quality work for the first time, not after your leading hand checks it. Honestly, it was a bit daunting, but then, when you tell yourself you have trained for this for 3 and a half years and are ready to step up to take the challenge, you just do it and rise to the occasion. It is all in the training. 

  3. What drives/motivates you to accomplish a successful career?

    I have always loved machinery and finding out how things work. When I was a kid, I used to get in trouble all the time because I would be compelled to figure out how something worked, so I would pull it apart, but quite often, unable to put it back together correctly! Becoming a diesel fitter was on my cards from a young age! Now, I know how things work when I pull them apart. It motivates me to make sure I can put it back together correctly to a high standard of work and ensure it works perfectly well as it did before.

  4. What challenges did you encounter during your apprenticeship, and how did you overcome them?

    Most of the challenges I had were with other tradespeople. I learned that we need to have good skills with people, not just with the tools. I know people have different ways of communicating and understanding. This is a strength that I am proud to own.

  5. How do you approach setbacks? 

    I usually say, "Don't be too harsh on yourself." Everyone makes mistakes and has setbacks. Most important is how you approach the setback and talk to yourself about it. Are you telling yourself that you are wrong or that it’s alright? Everyone is human, and there is no point in blaming yourself for things, as it won't solve the problem and get you back on track. We should own the problem and figure out how to overcome it instead.

  6. What is the next target for your career, and how do you plan to achieve it? 

    At the moment, I am a leading hand and would like to keep working my way up the ladder, perhaps into management. I am young, so I will take my time to get full exposure and develop a deep understanding of each role before moving to another position. By doing so, I will have the best understanding of people’s roles whom I may manage. I think that is important and I am in no hurry.

  7. Would you like to share how Sime Darby enhances your talents and abilities in Diesel Fitting?

    I believe my talents and abilities are enhanced through the world-class training that we have access to. We have some of the best trainers in Australia. Not to forget our apprentices' standard that shows us the opportunities available. There are many growth and employment opportunities, and it depends on which pathway you choose to follow. 

  8. Tell us about how you started your career with Sime Darby.

    My teachers used to say to me, "If you can get a job with Caterpillar, take it." They knew the opportunities could come from working at a company with such a long and respected history. They also knew how much I loved pulling things apart! The first thing I did when I finished grade 12 was applied for an apprenticeship at Hastings Deering.