Apprentice of the Year Rewarded for Lifelong Passion
Darcy Miller would spend his school holidays helping out on his grandfather's cane farm in Burdekin Shire, North Queensland.
Even sitting in the tractors as a kid, he knew one day he'd be driving and fixing them.
"I've had a passion for tractors as long as I can remember — I just loved spending time around them growing up," he said.
"When I got older I started doing work experience at the Honeycombes Sales & Service John Deere dealership in Ayr during holidays. After my first week I was already trying to book in more for the next holidays!
"That led to a school-based apprenticeship which I started in year 11, before coming on full-time after I graduated school."
Now in the fourth and final year of his apprenticeship at Honeycombes, Darcy's passion has been rewarded with the title of Service Apprentice of the Year at the 2023 John Deere Technician of the Year Awards.
The 21-year-old said while getting to work on tractors full-time was a privilege, building trust with his customers was the most important part of his job.
"The best way to connect with customers is through honesty and really understanding their operation and what they want to achieve," he said.
"It's important to support farmers because without them and the agriculture industry, everything would stop.
"There's a lot of exciting developments that are helping push the industry forward, particularly in the precision ag side of things.
"I love working on John Deere machines every day and have gained invaluable experience through my time at Honeycombes on machines from mowers right up to cane harvesters. Tractors are still my favourite though!"
Darcy was nominated for the award by Honeycombes colleague Karl Moschella, himself a Regional Finalist for the Agricultural and Turf Service Technician of the Year Award.
Karl said Darcy has become a highly regarded member of the team in a short space of time.
"No task is ever too hard for him," he said.
"He is committed to learning and development, and is a great role model to our younger apprentices. Darcy really 'bleeds green' with his commitment to John Deere."
Darcy said he enjoys passing on his knowledge to colleagues and customers.
"Everyone working as a team doesn't just create a better environment to work in, but gets better results for the customers," he said.
"I especially like helping the younger apprentices because I remember when I was in that situation being helped by older guys with some of the same issues.
"I'd highly recommend this career for anyone interested in agriculture. An apprenticeship really opens up a lot of doors for your future. You won't regret it!"