GPC’s Diesel Fitter Heads to WorldSkills

August 20, 2021

Gladstone Ports Corporation’s (GPC) diesel fitter, Shawn Ingham is sharpening his skills ahead of Australia’ largest trades and skills competition next week.

The 21-year-old fitter and two other former GPC apprentices will be put to the test at Worldskills Australia’s national competition in Brisbane next Friday.

The win could earn competitors a place on the Australian team at the international championships in Beijing.

WorldSkills Australia promotes and builds a skills culture, celebrates excellence and showcases vocational education and training, trades and apprenticeships.

The competition also focuses on fostering career pathways for Australia’s young people.

Two former GPC apprentices including James Holmes and Jayden Kiss will also head along to the competition in Brisbane, competing in electrical control, mechanical fitting and heavy vehicle mechanics.

The national competition takes place every two-years, hosting 500 young tradespeople over three days.

The competition was postponed last year due to COVID restrictions but GPC’s Shawn Ingham, who started at GPC as an apprentice four years ago, has been training ever-since his regional win in 2019.

“I’ve had a lot of on-the-job training as well as a few days in Rockhampton training at the TAFE with one-on-one training and studying at home,” Shawn said.

“The crew at GPC have been very supportive in my training, allowing me time to train and sharing their advice and tips,” he said.

“If I win, it will be a really big achievement for me but I know it’ll make my crew proud because they’ve poured hours into my training and it showcases GPC’s quality of tradespeople.”

Chief Operating Officer Craig Walker said the competition was a fantastic opportunity to showcase Gladstone’s talented tradespeople and build upon Australia’s skills culture.

“The competition encourages GPC’s tradespeople and apprentices to really master their trade,” Mr Walker said.

“Each year GPC employs a number of new apprentices who demonstrate the ability to work safely in heavy industrial environment, have the motivation to learn and develop new skills and work constructively within a team,” he said.

GPC’s apprentice program offers a variety of disciplines, including electrical, diesel fitting, plumbing, mechanical and horticulture to a diverse range of students.

In 2019, GPC’s Anthony Cobb represented Australia on the world stage for the 45th Worldskills event in Russia – competing against 1,600 participants.

“Anthony started with GPC as an apprentice and is now a fully-qualified, award-winning electrician who we’re proud to have on our team,” Mr Walker said.

“Every year we encourage and support our tradespeople and apprentices to give Worldskills a go and follow in the footsteps of Anthony and Shawn,” he said.

“At GPC we aim to support apprentices to develop world-class skills and expand their horizons, both with us and within the Gladstone community.”

“We’re all proud of Shawn’s achievements in making it to nationals and we will be cheering him and our former apprentices on.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher and Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water said the region was blessed with skilled workers.

“Being a local member in an industrial city like Gladstone, it is imperative that we continue to train young people and give them the skills that they need, particularly in apprenticeships so they can work for major industries,” Mr Butcher said.

“I’m proud that some of our young people engaged in the local industries of our town have risen to the next level,” he said.

“As a fitter and turner by trade, I understand how important it is to get these skills and trades in Australia,”

“A big shout out to all those businesses and large industries that continue to put on apprenticeships to train our future generations,

“There are new industries coming forward like the future Hydrogen industry and we need to have a skilled workforce ready.”