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The outstanding performance of the 2017 ‘Skillaroo’ team at the 44th WorldSkills International Competition held in Abu Dhabi recently has propelled Australia into the top 10 most skilled nations in the world

Nathan McHugh, Australia’s refrigeration competitor, performed extremely well under enormous pressure, scoring 84.91 per cent. He came 7th out of 23 competitors and was awarded a Medallion of Excellence for his performance in the four-day competition.

The Gold medals went to Korea and Russia and a bronze medal to China.

A former student of TAFE Qld SkillsTech, McHugh is employed by DTM Air Services in southern Queensland.

To prepare for the competition he trained extensively with his mentor and WorldSkills Australia’s International Expert, Carl Balke and his fellow teachers at TAFE Qld SkillsTech in Brisbane.

He was also supported by WorldSkills Australia’s previous International Judges, Chris MacDonald from City Holdings and Noel Munkman from the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC).

The refrigeration competitors were tested on their air conditioning and refrigeration skills through a series of stand-alone modules over the four days. These modules covered brazing, equipment knowledge, installation, commissioning and adjustment, fault finding and component replacement.

The main project was to install and commission an ice tank system with heat recovery.

Overall results for Australia's 18 competitors saw the team ranked 10th in the world, out of a total of 77 competing countries.

Prior to the event, Australia was ranked 12th in the world. This is an outstanding achievement by the whole team which included silver medals for carpentry and industrial millwright, and bronze medals for beauty therapy and bricklaying.

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

For more information, visit: https://www.worldskills.org.au/

The next national refrigeration WorldSkills competition will be held at ARBS Exhibition in Sydney on May 8-10, 2018.

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