Where Are They Now: Patrick Janes

When considering examples of young people realising their potential, 25 year old former WorldSkills Australia national competitor Patrick Janes is a clear stand-out.

One could easily conclude that Patrick was always meant to work in an engineering-based trade. “I loved Lego as a kid, and then I got into bigger things like engines and motorbikes and building with metal when my dad taught me to weld when I was about 10,” he says. He finally realised that his hobby could become a career when a teacher told him about a school-based apprenticeship. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, only assuming I would study engineering at uni once I finished school. The first day of my school based apprenticeship I fell in love with being able to build and fix things and especially the problem-solving aspect of the trade.”

Patrick’s employers at W.R & R.J Hunter Pty Ltd General Construction Engineers were so impressed with his abilities that they offered him an apprenticeship thereafter. When he discovered WorldSkills Australia in 2011, he was eager to undertake the challenge of competition. “Competing with WorldSkills Australia was a great experience for me for many reasons.  I never got really into sport until secondary school but became very competitive once I started playing hockey. This competitive spirit started to come through into other areas and when I was told about a welding competition, I signed up on the spot. Throughout my journey at the Regional and National competitions and the many hours training I put in, I developed some new skills and knowledge of my trade, made many great friends, opened up even more opportunities which kept on growing and also grew within myself. I refined my already self-reliant attitude and also developed a lot of confidence and belief in myself and my skills.”

Since then, life hasn’t even started to slow down. In addition to winning a string of awards including 2013 Australian Apprentice of the Year, Patrick took the next giant leap in his career. “In December 2013, I took over the business where I undertook my apprenticeship and have been running it for just over two years.” Now newly re-branded Janes Hunter Engineering Pty Ltd, Patrick has expanded the business’ client base and professional network. Most recently, the tables turned as Patrick decided to sign on his own school-based apprentice. “I believed it was important to take on my own school-based apprentice because I realised that I had been given fantastic opportunities and felt it was important to put my belief into another young person to offer them some of the opportunities that I was lucky enough to have.”

Patrick is very passionate about giving back to the next generation of Australia’s skilled workforce. “I believe we must keep offering opportunities for young people to go above and beyond their peers in order for them to realise they can be successful leaders.” If Patrick’s story is anything to go by, he may be right.