Brightest sparks meet WorldSkills Australia welder

At 24, Aaron Purdy is something of a WorldSkills veteran. With three WorldSkills Australia National Competition experiences under his belt, it was no surprise that when he was recently invited to speak about his experiences at a high school he wanted to stress how the competitions had helped him in his career.

Aaron was approached by a careers teacher at Bullsbrook College to talk to Year 10 students about how he had chosen his skilled career pathway and his experience in working as a professional tradesperson.

Aaron, who does FIFO work for Callidus Welding, wanted to show the students the path he had taken which has led to a varied career travelling across Australia and the world, but he also wanted to stress the importance of respect and how a good attitude can help your career.

“WorldSkills competitions have definitely helped me to achieve my career goals,” he says. “The competitions help you prepare to deal with the challenges that get thrown up in the workplace.

“Your training teaches you all sorts of skills, but the most important one I have learned is to be able to shift your thinking so you can adapt to a changing situation. My experience at WorldSkills Competitions has been the best training ground for that.”

WorldSkills TeamWA Manager, Fiona Johnson agrees, “Competitors are often surprised when they get to the competition because it is not just their skill level that is being tested. It is their ability to plan, think on their feet, manage their time and focus in a stressful environment.

“We had Aaron speak at our TeamWA training day in 2014 as we wanted to stress that WorldSkills competitions will test your abilities at all levels.”

As the 2015 Regional Competition year swings into action, it will be the first one that Aaron has missed since he entered his first Welding competition in 2009. At 24, he is no longer age-eligible to compete, but Fiona Johnson believes his WorldSkills journey is far from over.

“Aaron has been a terrific ambassador for his industry and for WorldSkills,” she says. “He has not only competed in two categories (first welding and later construction steel), but he is on the project design team for 2015/16 and I am sure he will be helping to judge at regional level.”
His demands as a public speaker show no signs of slowing down, either.

“I really enjoyed sharing my story with the students at Bullsbrook. The teacher said they enjoyed the presentation and the chance to have a real-world example was especially helpful.

“As for WorldSkills, I would encourage anyone thinking of entering to give it a go – you never know what you can achieve until you try.”

Applications for the 2015 WorldSkills Australia Regional Competitions are open now.