Since ARBS 2018 earlier this year, two young Queenslanders have been battling it out for the one position to represent Australia at the upcoming 2019 WorldSkills International competition in Kazan, Russia.

The competition between these two refrigeration apprentices is fierce, they are Patrick (Paddy) Brennan who is employed by Tony Stephens Refrigeration (TRS) in Gympie (Qld) and Chris McNally from Freezetec Refrigeration in Cleveland (Qld).

The two fridgies were separated by less than a mark to win gold and silver medals at the National WorldSkills competition in May.

In a first for Australia's refrigeration category, there has been two young apprentices in training, honing their skills and mental toughness at the SkillsTech TAFE campus in Queensland.

Training has been undertaken under the watchful eye of WorldSkills Australia’s International training manager and expert judge, Carl Balke, with the support of SkillsTech’s refrigeration team and past international competitor Nathan McHugh.

Weekly training sessions have seen the two apprentices going head to head on various refrigeration installs, refrigeration/electrical testing and fault finding.

As well as completing their TAFE college training, in September they have attended the WorldSkills Australia (WSA) “Skills Squad Training” camp with other young Skillaroo potentials to get an insight into the expectations and the challenges of taking on the rest of the world in the Kazan 2019 International competition.

Following feedback from trainers, team leaders and based on their performance improvements, Worldskills Australia has announced that Brennan has been selected to continue onto the next round of selections in April 2019 at the Global Skills Challenge.

For McNally, this is the end of the line for his formal WorldSkills training that has seen him learn new skills and make new friends.

For Brennan its one more step on the journey that started with the regional competition in June 2017.

Next year he will compete against 33 other countries already registered to do battle in the refrigeration category next year.

With formal training on hold during the industry’s busy summer period, Brennan will still be honing his hand skills and personal preparations on the job with his supportive employer, Tony Stephens Refrigeration.

The Australian Refrigeration Council's technical and training manager, Noel Munkman, has been selected by WorldSkills International as the Skill Competition Manager responsible for providing management, guidance, and leadership for planning, setting up and operation of the next competition.

Munkman has been involved in all but one international competition since 1995 as a supporter, WorldSkills Australia’s refrigeration expert (judge), chief expert and assistant technical delegate.

Congratulations to Brennan who will representing his trade and Australia on the world stage.

And special thanks to sponsors Heatcraft and Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, as well as supporting partners - ARBS Exhibition, BOC, RACCA, TAFE NSW and TAFE Queensland.

For more information about WorldSkills Australia and how you or your business can get involved, call the WorldSkills national office on 03 9249 1000, Email or visit its website at
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