Shane Ashton

How did you get into the industry?
My father is workshop manager at K & R Fabrications and he suggested that I do a pre-apprenticeship course at TAFE after leaving school in the first week of year 11. With that experience behind me and the fact that there was a shortage of skilled tradesmen in the Boilermaking industry I was offered an apprenticeship. I was advised that a trade certificate would open many doors.

Would you recommend a trade/skill based career to others?
Definitely, a trade is always something you can fall back on and having that certificate indicates to prospective employers you have what it takes to see a project through.

How has WorldSkills Australia helped you so far personally & professionally?
Personally I have had the chance to meet many people in my trade and many more from other trades. The WorldSkills National Competition was an experience I%27ll never forget. The competition was quite stressful but the judges and team leaders were very helpful and made us feel comfortable. Professionally, I think it is a bit too early to tell but I have been introduced to some very high profile people in the Illawarra region. Hopefully the financial rewards will come with time.

Would you recommend others participate in the WorldSkills Competitions?
I would recommend it to anyone as it%27s the ‘best of the best%27 in competition and fun. My younger brother is now very keen to emulate my success and so are the other apprentices at K & R. The experience is unforgettable.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the mates I have made and the vastly different skills and techniques taught to me by the senior tradesman at work. Times sure have changed and so has the equipment used years ago.

What do you hope to achieve in both short and long terms of your career?
Short term I will endeavour to stay with the company that has given me the time to train for WorldSkills and allow me to compete. I am not sure what the future holds and will weigh up the situation when offers are forthcoming. In the future, I would closely consider a teaching position at TAFE.

Illawarra Regional Competition 2007: Gold
National Competition 2008: Gold


John Sharples

John is Head Teacher at TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute, North Wollongong Campus and has been involved with WorldSkills Australia for many years, engaging in various roles- from organising Regional Competitions, being involved in State Training Camps and was a Judge in the 2008 WorldSkills Australia National Competition. His advice to the Skillaroos is to %22play hard but fair and do your very best, win or lose- be proud of what you have achieved%22.