Trades challenge for apprentices
A seven-hour competition is no biggie for a teenage apprentice used to working 12-hour shifts.
Tokoroa’s Shea Keir, 19, was one of a handful of young tradespeople who spent their weekend competing in a Waikato regional round of Worldskills.
The competition is often described as an olympics of the trades and includes categories such as aircraft maintenance, floristry, and web and graphic design.
But it was all trades at Wintec’s Rotokauri campus on Saturday as maintenance engineers and automotive technicians worked their way through tasks with a time limit – and a judge watching their every move.
A tutor suggested the competition to Shea and the apprentice fitter from Tokoroa saw it as a good opportunity.
Participants were working for about seven hours on their projects.
‘‘Just a short day. I work 12-hour shifts,’’ he said.
The regional event was his first trades competition, but he’d love to make it to national level
‘‘The hardest part of today [was] I haven’t been on a lathe for a long time and I used to do a lot of machining, so it’s getting back on and getting used to everything.’’
Accuracy – down to hundredths of a millimetre – was needed for the machining project, Waikato competition coordinator Roland Spirig said.
And making metal dice was
‘‘If they win their national competition, then they’re eligible to go to an international competition ... that’s in Abu Dhabi next year.’’ Roland Spirig, Waikato competition co-ordinator
their second task, which would involve drilling, marking out and welding. A tight time limit put pressure on, chief judge Raymond Hall said.
‘‘If you think it’s tight here, come nationals, it’s going to be tighter.’’
To be eligible to compete at that level, apprentices must win their regional Worldskills round, Spirig said. ‘‘If they win their national competition, then they’re eligible to go to an international competition ... that’s in Abu Dhabi next year.’’
By that stage, apprentices do a project in 22 hours – spread over four days.
Worldskills was a confidence builder for young apprentices and developed their technical and time management skills, he said.
‘‘A lot of the competitors at international level are headhunted just because they have that level of commitment and drive to do better.’’
The 2016 Worldskills NZ National Competition will be held at Wintec starting on September 29.
Shea Keir at the drilling machine working during the competition.