CQU-trained trio snag medals at WorldSkills Nationals competition in Melbourne

21 August 2023
Two men standing side by side, one wearing a navy hi-viz shirt and backwards baseball cap and protective goggles the other has a gray beard and is wearing a gray shirt with the words worldskills australia chief judge on it
CQUniversity-trained Gladstone Ports Corporation apprentice and WoldSkills Heavy Vehicle Mechanics silver medallist Dirk Holmes with CQU automotive teacher Chris Wasiak at the WorldSkills Nationals competition in Melbourne

Three CQUniversity-trained tradesmen have secured medals at the 2023 WorldSkills Nationals competition in Melbourne.

The event, which was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 17-19 August, saw apprentices and tradespeople compete in numerous industry areas, including automotive mechanical, electrical installation, hospitality and more.

Five tradesmen and apprentices represented CQU, with three receiving medals after the completion of judging at a special ceremony on Sunday 20 August.

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) tradesman Joshua Pedersen received the gold medal in the Electrical Control category.

“We had to build a mimic of an unloading conveyor system, like you would find in an airport,” Josh said.

“It’s an awesome feeling to have won gold, but I feel like we all did a good job.”

Although it was Josh’s first time competing in the WorldSkills Nationals, he said he felt his training as an apprentice at CQU and his experiences on the job put him in good stead.

“I have done similar work in my job, but everything I’ve learned at CQU and GPC is always relatable on the job and during the competition,” he said.

Since he secured gold, Josh now has the chance to represent Australia in his category at a future WorldSkills International competition.

Image of smiling man wearing a baseball cap and navy hi-viz shirt
CQU-trained Gladstone Ports Corporation tradesman and WorldSkills Gold medallist in Electrical Control Joshua Pedersen

Boyne Smelters Limited (BSL) tradesman Joshua Hurst said winning silver in the Electrical Installation category was a great way to end off what was a busy week of competition.

“It’s a pretty good feeling – you’ve got to be happy with the result given how big a week it was,” he said.

Joshua said his tasks included working on domestic and commercial electrical switchboards, looking for faults and being put through speed challenges.

“The training I’ve received was everything I needed, and it covered everything required in the competition,” he said.

“I might get to go to the international competition, depending on what the gold medallist does, but either way it opens up a lot of new pathways for me.”

Image of a man wearing a baseball cap and orange hi-viz shirt facing the camera
CQU trained Boyne Smelters Limited tradesman and WorldSkills silver medallist in Electrical Installation Joshua Hurst

Dirk Holmes, an apprentice at Gladstone Ports Corporation, won silver in the Heavy Vehicle Mechanics category, completing six tasks, including finding faults in manual transmissions and pre-delivery assessments on new vehicles.

“I’m pretty stoked and surprised to have won, but the training I received at CQU ensured I was ready. I mean the training is pretty phenomenal – all the teachers take the time to make sure we understand everything,” he said.

CQU Deputy Vice-President VET and Business Development Peter Heilbuth congratulated the three medallists and additional competitors, Max Woods (Fitting) and David McGrath (Turning) on their achievements.

“This is a fantastic result, not only for CQUniversity, but also for industry in Central Queensland,” he said.

“The success of the three medallists demonstrates that vocational education and training in the CQ region, combined with the excellent experience our local apprentices receive with their employers, stands up against the rest of the country, that our tradespeople are some of the best in the business.

"Congratulations to all the winners and competitors – they should feel very proud of their achievements.”