World of opportunity through WorldSkills challenge

By James Bennett

GOTAFE students are adding new ways to hone their skills by competing in the WorldSkills challenge.

For the past two days, about seven students in engineering courses have been competing.

They were required to manufacture a steamroller using just basic equipment and basic plans.

‘‘They have only six hours to do it so (it’s) a little time critical and puts them under a bit of pressure,’’ TAFE WorldSkills project officer Callum Ross said.

‘‘It tests their skills, management and to see if they can come up with a strategy.

‘‘More importantly, the competition teaches them how to deal with small errors and how they need to make their own changes themselves.

‘‘The judging is quite specific. They’re judged on their workmanship and they get points if they complete the task but it’s not absolutely necessary.

‘‘It’s how well they put it together so their welding, judging skills and if it fits within the plans. They’re given quite specific instructions and they must work with that.

‘‘The task also tests to see how well they pay attention to instruction and with a bit of time pressure they can slip up.

‘‘They have an understanding of what they have to but they don’t have the specifics so it can come as surprise.’’

The top three performers walk away with gold, silver and bronze medals. The winners will be announced next week.

Mr Ross said the Shepparton TAFE skills matched quite well to the metropolitan schools and technical colleges.

‘‘We’re super proud to push the region; there’s a great industry in Shepparton,’’ Mr Ross said.

‘‘We’re willing to put other students and industry up against the best from the metro schools.

‘‘They’re all successful when they get here, just turning up and putting them under this sort of pressure is why we’re proud of them.

‘‘The medals winner then become eligible for the national competition next year.’’

TAFE is running WorldSkills competitions until October. The competition isn’t just limited to engineering with 14 other skill base industries including baking, hairdressing and automotive.