Bright sparks: Welder wins gold medal and earns trip to Russia

  • Jun 07, 2018

Forefront welder Jake Offner works with a lot of metal but he has just been handed his most precious one yet.
Offner, 22, of Orange won the gold medal at the WorldSkills national finals in Sydney this week.
It means he has earned a place in the Australian Skillaroos team that will head to Russia for the international final in Kazan from August 22-27 next year.
About 70 countries will be represented in more than 50 skills.
Mr Offner said it was the culmination of four years involved in the skills contest.
“I’m still in a bit of shock that I won the competition,” he said.
He said the competition involved three days of welding with different skills tested on each day.
The competition was held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.
“A lot of people were walking around and watching all the skills and trades,” he said.
On one day 6000 schoolchildren filled the area.
Mr Offner said he had a lot to learn about the trip to Russia but one thing he will have to do is a lot of training.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what the plan is,” he said.
He said he had done a week of specialised training in the lead up to the national finals.
“There will be a lot of training involved,” he said.
“You have to train for weeks and weeks because you have got to compete against the best of the other countries.”
Mr Offner said he had been told training for past international finals had included other overseas trips to determine the standard of the opposition.
He works for Forefront Services in Stephen Place.
Mr Offner said he would be aiming to develop his skills.
“Keep climbing up, keep trying to better myself,” he said.
He said his skills were earning him more difficult jobs at Forefront Services.
“I’m definitely getting a lot better work because of my background,” he said.
He was one of five TAFE NSW Orange students who contested the national finals.
The others were Kyle Borg (refrigeration), Harrison Gersbach (steel), Joel Simmons (electrical) and David DeLange (fitting).
TAFE NSW teacher Matthew Ware said all of them had spent a lot of time preparing for the event.
Story care of David Fitzsimons, Central Western Daily

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