Talented turner headed for Perth

It’s week seven of our Regional Champion highlights and we are excited to introduce our next national competitor, Melinda Lethbridge, a young turner from Croydon, Victoria, who will be travelling to Perth in September to put her skills to the test at the 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition.

Melinda, at only 21 years old, will compete against other young champion turning competitors from up to 31 regions across Australia in what is dubbed ‘The Ultimate Skills Challenge’. During the competition, Melinda will be required to complete a series of technical and skill based tasks to then be judged by industry experts, all in the pursuit of a gold medal and the title of – ‘Nation’s Best’.

Melinda, who attended Swinburne University of Technology and is currently employed by Hargo Engineering, will also be vying for a scholarship through one of WorldSkills Australia’s prestigious international pathways where she will be given the chance to pursue further skill development through study, work experience, overseas travel or financial support.

“Winning gold was fantastic. I wasn’t sure how I would go against all the guys that turned up on the day, especially since I don’t often do this kind of turning at my work, so I was really excited to have topped the competition,” says Melinda of her recent win.

Melinda was first exposed to fitting and turning during work experience in Year 10, although Melinda found the trade fascinating, it wasn’t until a few years later that she had realised it was the right career pathway for her. Now in the early stages of preparing for The Ultimate Skills Challenge Melinda says, “It’s a huge honour to be able to represent Melbourne at the national competition. It’s a huge opportunity but also a responsibility to do my absolute best when I’m there. I’m also hoping to spend a lot of time in the workshops at TAFE as they have similar equipment to what I will be using at the competition.”