Skills test brings out best

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Ten Wim­mera elec­tri­cal ap­pren­tices have put their knowl­edge and abil­i­ties to the test in a World Skills Aus­tralia re­gional com­pe­ti­tion.

Fed­er­a­tion Univer­sity’s Wim­mera cam­pus in Hor­sham hosted the elec­trotech­nol­ogy cat­e­gory for the first time.

Con­venor and Fe­duni TAFE teacher Ia­ian Fricker said the com­pe­ti­tion was hotly con­tested, with the judges re­sort­ing to a count­back to de­ter­mine a win­ner.

Mr Fricker judged the com­pe­ti­tion along­side Laser Elec­tri­cal elec­tri­cians and former World Skills par­tic­i­pants Chris Gul­vin and Isaac Mack­ley.

“The stan­dard was very good,” he said.

“We were most pleased with the ef­fort they put in. It was a big job and they were very tired at the end of it.

“I think it was a bit more than they ex­pected and for some, parts of the job were be­yond their pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The elec­trotech­nol­ogy cat­e­gory cov­ers all as­pects of elec­tri­cal, elec­tronic in­stru­men­ta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies.

Mr Mack­ley said the com­peti­tors were given a spe­cific set of tasks to com­plete through­out the com­pe­ti­tion, which ran from 8am to 6pm.

“It is based on sys­tems you would find in a house, in­clud­ing lights and power points, com­pressed onto a board,” he said.

“There is some pretty com­plex wiring in­volved. Every­thing has to be done to spec­i­fi­ca­tion and there is min­i­mal room for er­ror. They lose marks for each thing that doesn’t work. At the end it needs to be all wired up cor­rectly and func­tion as in­tended.”

Mr Mack­ley said the ap­pren­tices re­ceived an in­for­ma­tion pack about the com­pe­ti­tion be­fore the event, but only learnt the specifics of the task on the day.

“They had to do a safe method work state­ment be­fore they could start and they needed to sup­ply all their own tools and per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment,” he said.

Mr Fricker said he was lucky to se­cure two highly pro­fes­sional judges.

“It’s a big job and a big out­come for Hor­sham to host a World Skills com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

“With­out them the com­pe­ti­tion couldn’t have gone ahead. Thanks to Laser Elec­tri­cal for loan­ing them to us for two days, and to the other em­ploy­ers who al­lowed their ap­pren­tices to com­pete in the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Mr Galvin paid tribute to Mr Fricker, who ‘set up the com­pe­ti­tion from scratch’.

Mr Fricker said it was worth all the ef­fort.

“It was very good to see the par­tic­i­pants’ em­ploy­ers and su­per­vi­sors turn up and show a great deal of in­ter­est,” he said.

“We also had VETIS Try A Trade stu­dents come in to have a look. They are in the process of de­cid­ing what they want to do for their VCAL pro­gram.

“We had be­tween 30 and 40 stu­dents through from schools across the Wim­mera and it was great for them to see first-hand some of the work elec­tri­cians do.”

The win­ner of the Wim­mera com­pe­ti­tion will be an­nounced at a World Skills pre­sen­ta­tion night in Bal­larat on Septem­ber 20.

Win­ners of re­gional events have an op­por­tu­nity to go to the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, in Syd­ney next year.

The best of the best will com­pete in a world­wide com­pe­ti­tion in the Nether­lands. 2017 World Skills Wim­mera en­trants: CHS Group, Sam Bigham, Ryan Clarke, Ja­cob O’beirne; Laser Elec­tri­cal Hor­sham, Rily Nuske, Alex Harfield, Sam Clyne, James Clif­ford, Brock Or­val, Corey Mann; Luv-a-duck, Chris Loader.

Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

COM­PLEX: CHS Elec­tri­cal’s Ryan Clarke par­tic­i­pates in a World Skills elec­trotech­nol­ogy com­pe­ti­tion at Fed­er­a­tion Univer­sity’s Wim­mera cam­pus in Hor­sham. It was the first time the Wim­mera had hosted the cat­e­gory.

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