Refrigeration technician to battle it out for nation’s best

WorldSkills Australia is thrilled to reveal our sixth 2014 national competitor, a successful refrigeration technician representing Canberra – Michael Arena.

Since recently being crowned a ‘Regional Champion’ in the 2013 round of regional competitions, Michael at only 23 years old, is set to compete against other young champion refrigeration technicians from up to 9 regions across Australia at the 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Refrigeration Competition. The National Competition will be held in conjunction with the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services (ARBS) Trade Exhibition at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre between the 20th and 22nd of May.

During the competition, Michael will be putting his skills to the test all in the pursuit of a gold medal and the prestigious title of – ‘Nation’s Best’.

Michael, who is currently employed by O’Connor Commercial Refrigeration and attends Canberra Institute of Technology will also be vying for a scholarship through one of WorldSkills Australia’s prestigious international pathways where he will be given the chance to pursue further skill development through study, work experience, overseas travel or financial support.

“I was very happy when I found out that I had won gold at the Regional Competition, it felt like all my hard work had paid off and to top it off I found out my good mate and work colleague Mat Tait came in second, he was hard to beat,” said Michael about his recent win.

When Michael first began researching career pathways, he knew he wanted to pursue a trade and a non-traditional one at that. “Refrigeration seemed to be a great challenge and it has taught me a range of different abilities. Also my boss, Fay O’Connor is the nicest person I have ever met, after my interview, looking for another trade seemed silly,” said Michael.

In the lead up to the National Competition Michael will work closely with his employer and trainer to help him prepare and refine his skills. “I feel every day at work on the tools will help me prepare, considering I am always faced with many different obstacles. I’m very excited to be able to compete; I feel I have the skills and confidence to do well. Also having the support from my employers, Tim, Fay and Daniel O’Connor who have trained and supported me throughout my apprenticeship, and my fellow work mates will help me achieve a good outcome,” says Michael.