Skills test brings out best
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.
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.