Students take skills to the world

Year 12 Red Bend Catholic College student Max ­Ridley with the gold medal he received for ­winning the state title during the World Skills Australia State ­Championships last week for his efforts in ­Agriculture and Primary Industries.Year 12 Red Bend Catholic College student Max Ridley can now add gold medallist to his list of accomplishments after taking out the World Skills Australia State Championships last week.

Max and his fellow year 12 student Blake Osborne travelled to Sydney to compete against other vocational education students in the state championships last week after earning their places in the finals late last year.

The two students had between 1 ½ days and two days to show off their learned skills, taking out gold and sixth place respectively.

Agriculture and Primary Industries student Max completed five set tasks over two intensive days of competition to finally edge out his fellow rivals by less than one point.

The first task was to move livestock into a set of yards, draft them off, weigh them and work out how much drench they needed to be given.

Max was then required to drench them.

The second task involved farm machinery and saw Max conduct a pre-service check on a tractor and then attach an implement.

In task three Max had to construct a farm fence.

Task four required Max to give first aid in a mock scenario where a child had fallen from a silo.

Although Max performed well in each task it was the final stage which saw him edge out his rivals.

As part of the fifth task Max was required to put his maths skills to the test by working out the percentage of pasture in a paddock and calculate the cost of replacing the pasture.

Agriculture teacher Susan Earl said while it was good to be practical with agriculture, maths was still required.

“It is important to realise that all the skills taught at school can be useful in the outside world,” Mrs Earl said.

“The separating points in the end came down to the ability to do farm based maths calculations.”

Max said he was very pleased and surprised by the final result.

“There was a lot of competition there,” Max said.

“[The chief steward] said it was the hardest level of competition he had seen.”

According to Max one of the hardest aspects of the competition was performing under pressure – with all tasks set against a time limit.

Fellow student Blake competed in the Metals and Engineering section to achieve sixth place.

As part of the competition Blake was required to construct a transportable metal sheep feeder using sheet metal and square tubing.

Like Max, Blake’s skills were pitched against 11 other vocational students all vying for the top spot.

Blake admitted to experiencing some nerves before the competition but said he enjoyed the competition.

“It was good. It was a good experience,” he said.

Through the competition Blake said he gained some new skills and hopes the experience will help him gain employment in the metals or mines industries.

Red Bend Catholic College Technical and Applied Studies (TAS) teacher Col Hawthorn said both Max and Blake had won at the regional finals to reach state selection.

Mr Hawthorn said it has been six years since the college has had a student reach the National Titles.

Max is the second student of Mr Hawthorn’s to go to Nationals and looks like he may follow in the footsteps of former student Todd Grace, who won the state title before going on to win at Nationals.

Max will return to Sydney in August this year to compete in the National World Skills titles.

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