Young sparkies show off top skills
■ Sparks were literally flying at St Luke’s College’s Trade Training Centre last Friday when most of the Year 11 Certificate II Electrotechnology class from Karratha Senior High School went head-tohead in the WorldSkills VETiS Electrotechnology Competition.
The 10 Year 11 students spent the afternoon assembling a printed circuit board, or PCB, that indicates voltage levels through the colour of an LED light.
They were judged on component identification, skill and ability, and accuracy.
The Pilbara regional competition is one of several regional entries in the national WorldSkills competition.
It also marked the first time the competition had been open to high school students, with only apprentices and trainees already working in the industry able to compete in past years.
The top three students, to be announced this week, will attend a medal ceremony in Perth next month, before first-placed student Jake Innamorati goes on to represent the Pilbara at the national WorldSkills competition held in Melbourne in August next year.
Pilbara regional education liaison officer Annaleise Wilson said having the competition in the Pilbara was important.
“We want to be able to compete at the same level as everyone else,” she said.
“We have all the resources we need up here and some of the industry’s best workers. We should make the best of what we have.”
Reece Christensen, 16, is hoping to go on to an industrial electrician apprenticeship with Woodside or Rio Tinto in the future.
“It’s been pretty challenging so far,” he said of the competition.
“It’s something new, and it’s competitive.”
Sixteen-year-old Jake said the WorldSkills competition was a good starting challenge.
“It’s a good opportunity and it is needed, but we need more competitors,” he said.
“It’s all the same schools here and it would be better if it was a wider range of competition.”
Jake’s win should guarantee him that greater exposure in the national round.
Judge Mark Bendon, a Karratha Contracting project manager, said he wished he’d had the same opportunities in high school because working in the Pilbara electrical industry could take people far.
“The range of experiences up here is second to none really,” he said.
“If you apply yourself to this industry, it’s limitless where it can take you. It’s by far the broadest technical industry there is.”
Karratha Senior High School Year 11 electrotechnology students Benjamin Turnbull, 16, Steven Wright, 16, teacher Alun Jones and Jaydyn Doggett, 16.
Karratha Senior High School Year 11 electrotechnology students Caleb Oakley, 16, and Ryan West, 16.