Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Graduate Nathan McHugh is Not Your Average Tradie

Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning graduate Nathan McHugh is not your average tradie. At just 21 years of age, Nathan is now completing his second apprenticeship in Electrotechnology and has been named as a Skillaroo as a part of Team Australia.

22 Aug 2017

Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning graduate, Nathan McHugh is not your average tradie. At just 21 years of age, Nathan is now completing his second apprenticeship in Electrotechnology and has been named as a Skillaroo part of Team Australia. As a Skillaroo, Nathan is a highly skilled tradesperson, part of an elite team of young Australians who will compete to represent Australia at the 44th WorldSkills International Competition in Abu Dhabi this October.

Nathan first became involved in the WorldSkills Australia competitions while completing a school-based apprenticeship and was recognised for his natural talent and enthusiasm for technical and analytical problem-solving.

Nathan has gone from strength to strength in the qualifying competitions held by WorldSkills Australia which is largely recognised as the global hub for excellence and development in vocational skills. After winning gold at the National Refrigeration Competition in Melbourne last year, Nathan’s most recent challenge was competing at the Guangzhou Invitation Tournament in China last April. Nathan, who proudly won a bronze medal said that the emphasis on WorldSkills in China is massive, “they will do anything to excel and pursue perfection, and they are very, very competitive”.

Nathan’s mentor, TAFE Queensland SkillsTech Refrigeration teacher, Carl Balke has played a significant role in Nathan’s success throughout his apprenticeship and the WorldSkills competition. Carl has also been selected to join Team Australia as a WorldSkills Australia Expert in his skill area and will be accompanying Nathan to Abu Dhabi. When speaking of the student-mentor relationship, Nathan said that it has to be a joint effort to be successful. “Carl is the backbone of it, he knows the competition and is always giving me the opportunity to learn more and keep my progression going”, said Nathan.

Nathan has only recently returned from the Global Skills Challenge, which is a simulated international competition and an important training exercise in the lead up to the international competition. To help Nathan prepare, Carl has been attempting to replicate the pressure that Nathan will be faced with and build his resilience to be able to bounce back from mistakes and to produce exceptional quality work. “Nathan has the raw skills, passion and enthusiasm in everything he does, he’s an Australian larrikin who has the ability to think on the go and take on the pressure”, said Carl.

Nathan describes the WorldSkills Competition as the best journey in his life to date. He states that the “one-on-one training and the investment that people provide because they see your potential gives you a real sense of pride in what you have achieved and what you are doing”.

Not only has Nathan grown both personally and professionally throughout the WorldSkills experience, he has also formed lasting friendships and experiences that will stay with him forever.

For more information about the WorldSkills Australia and how you can get involved, please contact Eric Davis on 07 3244 0245 or visit WorldSkills Australia.

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