On the road to Russia – apprentices prepare for WorldSkills 2019

16 July 2019

Following their success at the WorldSkills national competition last year, two ATNZ apprentices are now making final preparations to go to the world champs next month in Kazan, Russia.

The 2019 International WorldSkills competition is celebrating its 45th year, and is regularly referred to as the ‘Skills Olympics’, hosting 80 competing countries and around 200,000 visitors.

Tauranga’s Matt Nielsen (pictured right) and Lower Hutt’s Lloyd Dyer (pictured left) will be part of a nine-person New Zealand Worldskills’ team competing in Russia.

Matt, 21, is in his third year of an ATNZ engineering apprenticeship at Page Macrae in Mount Maunganui, and took home the gold in the welding section at last year’s national competition in Hamilton.

In preparation for the upcoming overseas competition, Matt has been putting in overtime and said he is “looking forward to going to Russia and experiencing their culture.”

“I’m training really hard – I do a lot of training during and after work, in my own time, and I come in on the weekends. Doing this competition has really developed my knowledge of welding. I’ve learned heaps of new things that I never thought I would know.”

With the competition taking place in Russia, Matt’s welding career has him travelling all over the world. 

“I went to America for a practice training round for welding, then Australia the week after for work, then across the Tasman again for another competition. Welding is leading me all over the place, it’s filling up my passport!”

Also representing New Zealand is 20-year-old, Lloyd Dyer, from Lower Hutt, Wellington. Lloyd is in his third year of an ATNZ general engineering apprenticeship at ACME Engineering in Petone, and also won gold in his respective field – industrial mechanic millwright.

“The whole build up to it has been quite a big deal, it has definitely helped boost my confidence. It’s been an unforgettable experience, and the fact we get to represent the country is quite a big deal to me.”

To prepare for the event, the charitable trust, WorldSkills New Zealand, has dedicated over 400 hours of expert skills coaching to the Kiwi team, preparing them for the challenges they will face.

“Each competitor will face both mental and time pressures, and have to complete complex tasks in a completely new environment. They’ll be totally out of their comfort zone,” says Ash Siddiqui, WorldSkills New Zealand general manager for partnerships and innovation.

Showcasing the technical and innovative talent in young people is a key part of the international event. With only a month to go until they leave, preparations are in full swing.