Plastering apprentice takes home the gold

ACTON Park local Mitch Stephen has gone up against the best up and coming tradespeople in Australia, taking home a gold medal in the plastering category at the 2018 Workskills National Championships.

Held in Sydney in June, more than 400 competitors from across the country vied for the title of “national champion” in 50 trade and skill categories.

The national championships were hosted by Skills Show Australia, which aims to equip young Australians with the knowledge to make an informed choice about their future career options.

Mr Stephen took out the top prize against six competitors in his category.

The 21-year-old, who has been plastering for the past three-and-a-half years, said he only believed himself to have a “pretty slim” chance of winning.

“I was pretty shocked and excited when they called out my name as the winner, I really hadn’t thought I had a chance,” he said.

“But this was a really great experience and it has opened up a lot of opportunities for me in the future.

“I now have a greater awareness of the quality of my work and it has opened my eyes to exactly what I should be doing.

“I have been offered a BBM Skilled Futures Scholarship, which could see me travel to the United Kingdom for two weeks next year.”

Mr Stephen said the gold medal was also handy to have on his resume, opening up the possibility of working interstate or even overseas.

“This competition is recognised both nationally and internationally, so it’s good to have under my belt,” he said.

Overall, the Tasmanian team came home with six gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

Workskills Australia chief executive officer Brett Judd said Workskills Australia was nurturing and developing the skills of young Australians.

He congratulated the competitors for “excelling in their fields and reaching such a prestigious national level.”

“Events such as Skills Show Australia 2018 highlight the diverse opportunities available to those pursuing a trade of skill,” he said.

“Choosing a vocational education and training path can open up some incredible and varied career opportunities.

“Many of the occupations predicted to have the strongest job growth in the next five years are offered by our vocational education and training sector.”

Mr Judd thanked the sponsors, supporters and volunteers for their “tireless support” of the Skills Show and National Championships.

The Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board (TBCITB), who is a long-time supporter of the Workskills competition, congratulated the young men and women who represented Tasmania at the event.

TBCITB business manager Paul Lockwood said Tasmanians who represented the building and construction industry at Workskills brought skills back to the Tasmanian industry.

“The TBCITB regards Workskills as an important competition,” he said.

“Our top young tradespeople get a unique chance to demonstrate their skills against their peers from around Australia.”

For more information about the 2018 Workskills National Championships or for a full list of winners, visit www.worldskills.org.au/what-we-do/worldskills-australia-competitions/national.

Caption: Acton Park plasterer Mitch Stephen at the 2018 Workskills National Championships in June.