November 23, 2021

Young apprentices represent the future of workforce skills for the manufacturing industry and IBSA Group was proud to support the incredible talent of young people in trades at the 2021 WorldSkills Australia National Championships.

We recently interviewed Gold Medallist, Lisiate Hull (Fitting category) to find out what inspired him to enter and what winning means for his future ambitions.

What inspired you to enter the WorldSkills competition?

I entered the WorldSkills competition when I was a first-year apprentice. My lecturer at TAFE SA (Ashley Tilley) recommended that I have a go. Ash was the one who inspired me to enter, he told me that he thinks I have the skill set and a chance of moving on from the regionals to the next stage. Knowing that the South East hadn’t won a medal in the Fitting category for many years on the national stage was motivating for me.

What kind of support/help did you get from your employer?

I had a lot of help from my employer JBS Aus. with this competition. The business had purchased all the tooling I would need come competition day. The company also gave me time to practise the skills I needed at work using the new lathe and mill – this was huge as I work at the Bordertown Plant which is a 2 hour drive away from the nearest TafeSA campus. The help I got from my employer was more than what I could have asked for and I’m grateful for their support.

How did you prepare for the competition?

I prepared for the competition with a mix of practise at work (as mentioned previously) and TAFE. When I had TAFE down in Mount Gambier our lecturer would give up his afternoons to help Kane (Turning South East SA representative) and I with honing our skills and showing us how to push the machines to the limit. It was convenient that in the weeks leading up to the competition, the modules we studied at TAFE were Mechanical Drives and Levelling and Aligning. These modules helped significantly because all the theory and practical was so fresh in my mind preparing me for the competition.

Did Covid affect your preparation?

Covid affected my preparation in a mental way, there was always doubt that the competition would go forward causing me to lose motivation for practising. However, once the dates were confirmed that’s when I really started to dive into practise. It was still a bit of a shame we didn’t get the full experience of the competition by not heading over to Perth.

What was the highlight of competing in the competition?

The highlights of competing in the competition was making the people close to me proud, as they would say, just by participating on the national stage already makes you a winner. Taking the gold medal to me was the cherry on top, it was extremely rewarding as there were certainly many hours of hard work put in from myself and the individuals involved.

How do you see World Skills Australia and being a gold medallist helping the next steps of your career?

I see WorldSkills Australia as a great platform to learn, display and evolve your professional skills and further your career. I hope that being a gold medallist propels me into the next stage of my career and helps me with my future ambitions.

What are your long-term ambitions?

My long-term ambitions include getting an advanced diploma in the mechanical engineering field leading to a mechanical engineering degree. I aim to become a Plant Engineer/Engineering Manager in future, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the short term I hope to progress to the international stage for the Shanghai competition in 2022.

What’s your advice for other people looking to take part in WorldSkills?

My advice for people looking to take part in WorldSkills would be to humble yourself. Take in all the information and knowledge from others, whether its your colleagues at TAFE, your boss at work, your lecturer or your workmates. Get yourself into the mindset of I can do this quicker, this is a more effective way to do complete the task and ask questions. Remember to stay organised and familiarise yourself with your working environment. Most importantly enjoy the experience, it’s not often that you get an opportunity to participate in an event like WorldSkills so make the most out of it and have fun.

Is there anyone in your World Skills journey that you’d like to thank?

I’d like to thank these people for taking part in this journey, Stephen Hull, David Joubert and the Bordertown Maintenance Team, JBS Australia, my family, WorldSkills Australia organisers and my competitors for this amazing experience. A very special thanks to Ashley Tilley from TAFE SA for putting in all the hard work training me and doing the background work to get us organised and involved in the competition, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Big thanks to IBSA for sharing my story.