24 November 2023

Mercury Marine third-year apprentice Dimitri Giannikopoulos has been awarded the Marine Mechanic Apprentice of the Year by the Boating Industry Association (BIA) of Victoria at the recent Melbourne Boat Show, after showcasing excellent knowledge and skills in the boating industry. 

Currently undertaking a Certification III in Marine Mechanical Technologies through TAFE provider the Kagan Institute, Dimitri said he felt thrilled to win the award and be recognised amongst his peers for his expertise as a marine mechanic.

“I felt very excited to be recognised with the award since I feel like it’s such a difficult trade to show off all your skills,” Dimitri said.

“There are a huge variety of things you do as a marine mechanic and usually people are excellent at one thing.

“You need to be able to fault find, know the process and procedures to fix a variety of different outboards, how to do warranty claims as well as understand theory, and this award recognises that.”

Dimitri was nominated by Mercury due to his exceptional aptitude for learning, proficiency with tools and his innate talent.

The judging process to decide the Apprentice of the Year involved BIA judges visiting Dimitri’s workplace at Mercury Marine Australia’s head office in Dandenong South, where they observed him working and conducted a 20-minute interview.

Dimitri’s skills and knowledge has been evident since he joined Mercury Marine in 2021 as a school-based apprentice. Upon completing his schooling, he transitioned into a full-time role with Mercury where he has continued to excel, establishing himself as an invaluable member of the Mercury team.

Drawing from his own experience as a school-based apprentice, Dimitri has taken on a mentoring role for Mercury’s current school-based apprentice, Joachim Lopez-Valoa, who recently won the School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year award at the 69th Victorian Training Awards.

“When I first started as a school-based apprentice I was mechanically minded, but when you work in a proper workshop it can be a bit daunting and difficult for the first few months, Dimitri said.

“Knowing from my own experience I told Joachim when he first joined to slowly take his time learning the right way of doing things, as well as showing him the correct procedures.

“I have showed him how to do warranty claims, the procedure for taking off powerheads, how to run an engine, diagnostics and fault finding and using the test tank.”

Dimitri’s responsibilities at Mercury encompass a wide range of tasks, from handling warranty claims to setting up engines and trailers for boat shows, providing expertise during demonstrations at these events, rigging and servicing engines, testing new products and assisting dealers with queries, specialist parts, and customer orders.

He recently played a pivotal role in showcasing Mercury’s new Avator 7.5e electric outboard at the Sydney International Boat Show, effectively demonstrating its use and explaining its features to attendees.

Having grown up around boats and fishing Dimitri’s natural interest in mechanical systems has been a driving force behind his success, with him relishing the opportunity to test out the latest Mercury products.

“A highlight of my job is getting to do the water tests when a new outboard arrives,” Dimitri said.

“Recently I helped with the installation of the new V12 600hp Verado onto the back of our testing boat as well as assisting with the rigging of a V10 400hp onto a Haines Hunter. Afterwards we took them out for a test on the water which was a lot of fun.

“I also had the opportunity to bring my personal boat – a Quintrex – into the workshop where I installed and rigged a new 60hp FourStroke engine, with the entire process a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.”

Dimitri plans to finish his apprenticeship midway through next year, where he will become a fully qualified Marine Mechanic.