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04 December 2019
A group of Wimmera electrotechnology students and apprentices are eligible to contend a national trade-skills championship next year.
At a WorldSkills Australia presentation evening at Federation University’s Mt Helen Campus in Ballarat, six Wimmera representatives received medals for their competing in two regional heats in Horsham earlier this year.
The heats were at the university’s Wimmera campus, with the first involving seven secondary school students completing Vocational Education and Training, VET, for electrotechnology, and the second, 10 electrotechnology apprentices.
In the VET heat, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College student Bradley Walker won from runner-up Aaron Timms, Horsham College, and third-place Tomas Butler, St Brigid’s College.
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CHS Group’s Sam Bigham took out the apprentice heat, followed by Nicholas Smith, Horsham Laser Electrical, and Matthew Wynn, CHS Group.
WorldSkills Victorian state manager Mick Prato said the gold medallists would be ‘top picks’ to join the state team for WorldSkills Australia National Championships in August next year.
He said one competitor in each competition would be chosen to attend the Perth event, which would also feature people showcasing skills in areas such as bricklaying, cookery and welding.
“There are eight regions in Victoria for WorldSkills and we are looking at getting a team of about 100 Victorians in different skills going to the next level,” he said.
“And we want the top-placed competitors to go through. Sam, for example, he’ll be our first pick because he’s a gold medallist.”
Mr Prato said the chosen competitors for nationals would be released in January.
He said apprentices who were young enough would also be eligible for WorldSkills International Championships in Shanghai, China, as part of Australia’s representative ‘Skillaroos’ team.
Fed Uni WorldSkills convenor and electrotechnology teacher Iaian Fricker said the Wimmera campus hosted a competition for apprentices in 2017, but this year was the first time there was also a VET competition.
He said he really enjoyed teaching his VET students the necessary skills to build their careers.
“They’re a nice group of young adults. The whole point of it is to turn out electricians or technicians, and that’s what it is doing, it’s producing workers,” he said.