Eugowra apprentice David de Lange has returned from Sydney with a silver medal in the fitting category of the WorldSkills National Championships.
More than 400 of the best apprentices and trainees from across the country competed in 50 trade and skill categories at the titles last weekend.
The championships are part of the Skills Show Australia 2018 and attracted 1000 competitors and competition officials, along with thousands of local, interstate and international visitors.
David, who is completing his apprenticeship with MidPro Engineering in Forbes, said the competition was challenging, especially knowing that he was going up against some of the best fitters in Australia.
David – and nine other national finalists - had to complete a single project over the course of three days, to competition specifications.
The competitors were rated on the various tasks they had to complete including gear ratios and assembly.
The project required a lot of different skills and had processes which had to be completed properly, or marks were deducted.
David said he had a bit of a shaky start on the first day, but didn’t let that stop him.
“After making a few mistakes on the first day, I just put my head down and went for it,” David said.
He finished the three day competition with only a small margin between him and the first placed competitor.
David said he was very happy with the result he achieved and wasn’t expecting to place so high in the competition.
“I wasn’t expecting to get a medal because I was going up against nine other people who are really good,” he said.
After coming back from the National Championships, David has returned to work at Midpro Engineering and Irrigation as a fitter and turner, while completing his Certificate III in Mechanical Trade at TAFE NSW.
David said he would like to thank his TAFE and employer for their support during the championships.
WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd said WorldSkills Australia was nurturing and developing the skills of young Australians, and these events highlighted the diverse opportunities available to those pursuing a trade or skill.
David said if anyone had a chance to compete in the event in the future to do so as it was a great experience.
“If I could do it again, I would,” he said.
David is not the only local to come back from the 2018 WorldSkills National Championships with medals.
Red Bend Catholic College student Jacob Zieltjes received gold and Alex Clifton received bronze in the Primary Industries competition.
More about their success to come when they return to school.
College graduate Clinton Larkings won the gold medal in turning.
The World Skills National Championships are held every two years and are open to apprentices, trainees and other vocational students aged 16-24. For more information visit www.worldskills.org.au