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A young refrigeration and air conditioning technician from Jimboomba in south east Queensland, Nathan McHugh, has been selected by WorldSkills Australia to compete in Abu Dhabi in October.

He joins an elite team of young Australian trades people who will compete against their international counterparts at the 44th WorldSkills International competition.

The team, known as the Skillaroos, was chosen after a four-day Global Skills Challenge. The challenge saw over 100 participants from 16 countries test their skills in 21 trades.

McHugh competed against refrigeration competitors from Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Brazil and at the end of the 4-day competition he was judged the winner by the team of international judges. He is 21 years of age and was a student at TAFE Qld SkillsTech and is employed by DTM Air Services.

He has been training towards possible selection to Abu Dhabi since May last year when he won the Gold Medal at Australia’s Refrigeration and Air Conditioning National WorldSkills competition held as part of the 2016 ARBS Exhibition in Melbourne.

As part of his reward for winning the national competition, in October 2016 he attended the Chillventa International HVACR Exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany thanks to sponsorship from LuVe Contardo Pacific.

Not only did he see and learn about the latest developments and technologies, but he also observed the German refrigeration mechanics compete in their national WorldSkills competition which was held during the exhibition.

He has worked closely with his mentor and WorldSkills Australia’s International Judge, Carl Balke and his fellow teachers at TAFE Qld SkillsTech in Brisbane as well as WorldSkills Australia’s previous International Judges, Chris MacDonald from City Holdings and Noel Munkman from the Australian Refrigeration Council.

More than 3,000 competitors, experts and officials from 77 countries will take part in WorldSkills from October 14 to 19.

Australia, currently ranked 12th in the world, is aiming to finish in the top 10 in 2017.

WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd congratulated McHugh on his selection saying it had been based on an arduous training regime.

“I applaud his determination and congratulate him on his selection as a Skillaroo,” Judd said.

“These young people are excelling in their fields and being rewarded with international experience and opportunities; their trades are really taking them places.”

McHugh has received strong support from local industry including sponsors Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, ARBS Exhibition, Heatcraft, LuVe Contardo Pacific, Danfoss and Rothenberger with support from TAFE Qld SkillsTech, RACCA, City Holdings and ARC.

Details at https://www.worldskills.org.au/

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