August 19th, 2011
Young Manawatu engineer set to take on the World
William Taylor of Etech Industries in Palmerston North is a valued, qualified light fabrication tradesman - and he’s now set to make a name for himself as one of New Zealand’s top young sheet metal engineers.
Right now William is preparing to head to London as part of a 17-strong team of ‘Tool Blacks’ to compete at the 41st WorldSkills International competition in October this year.
William, 22, won the Sheet Metal Technology skill category at the National WorldSkills competition in Christchurch late last year, qualifying him to compete at this year’s international event.
“I entered WorldSkills to challenge myself after completing my Level 4 National Certificate in Engineering – Light Fabrication,” says William, “plus I also wanted to see where my skills stacked up against others in my trade.”
“Seeing other finalist complete the project before me at the National event was scary, but I just put my head down and concentrated on doing a good job - I couldn’t believe it when they said I’d won!”
William will be joining two other talented young engineers – Brad Wood of South Waikato Precision Engineering (Welding specialist), and Mathew Pascoe of Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (Polymechanics) – who also recently completed their respective mechanical engineering apprenticeships.
The WorldSkills International event is held every two years, bringing together over 1,000 of the world’s best young tradespeople (under 23 years of age) from 50 countries to compete across 46 different trade skill categories.
Winning the national event didn’t guarantee William’s selection however. WorldSkills NZ CEO, Peter Spencer, interviewed and personally selected all 17 representatives not just for their outstanding trade skills, but also for their qualities to become ambassadors for New Zealand throughout the competition.
“Now I’ll get the chance to see how my skills stack up against other young tradesmen from all over the world - I never imagined something like this was even possible for me, it’s a really exciting opportunity,” says William.
William knew quite early on that he wanted to do an engineering apprenticeship and, with his father’s support, he approached Etech Industries in his hometown for an opportunity after leaving high school – and he’s never looked back.
During his trial period with Etech he completed a pre-trade mechanical engineering course at UCOL, where he picked up some hands-on pattern development and marking out skills that apprentices don’t often learn on-the-job today.
“Those skills came in really handy for the WorldSkills competition – not having to rely on technology to do the tasks really paid off for me, in this instance.”
Etech’s managing director, Trevor Douglas, says William showed real promise and dedication in learning his craft right from the start; qualities he continues to display in his work and through his WorldSkills achievements.
“He has the right attitude to go far in this industry – the quality of his work is really high, and he’s a team player who always puts in extra hours to help us meet some crazy deadlines,” says Trevor.
Trevor and the team at Etech have been really supportive of William’s WorldSkills selection, and are helping him prepare for the big event in a number of ways.
“We’ve given him time off with full pay to go to the event, we’re helping him source sponsors, and he can practice on his competition project here at work when he needs to,” says Trevor.
All WorldSkills competitors in his category were given the same competition project brief to help them train leading up to London. However the project will change by up to 30% for the competition, so the pressure will be on William to adapt quickly, plan well, and perform to the best of his abilities.
William’s mentor and deputy chief judge for this skill category for WorldSkills 2011, Steve Brooks, has worked closely with William over the last 8 months to prepare him for the WorldSkills experience - the rigours of competition, cultural exchanges, right down to packing his toolbox in good time to ship it to London.
“His welding and some other skills are already quite strong, so for now we’ve got William working on his CAD skills to bring those up to speed for the competition,” says Steve.
“His haka is getting better too – we encourage the team to share a bit of our culture while they’re away. WorldSkills offers a really rich experience for William, and all our young competitors.”
Steve is an industry manager for Competenz, the industry training organisation for the mechanical engineering sector, and also helped manage William’s apprenticeship with Etech, so the pair know each other well.
“He’s got what it takes to bring home a medal – that’s the ultimate goal and that’s what we’re here to help him achieve.”
To find out more about the William and our other engineering WorldSkills competitors, to learn more about WorldSkills 2011, or to check out sponsorships options to help get our lads to London, click here.