Local Armidale automotive electrician Sean Neimeyer has won gold at the 2021 WorldSkills Australia National Championships after completing his school-based apprenticeship at TAFE NSW Tamworth.
Competing in the country's largest trades and skills competition, Mr Neimeyer showcased the skills he learnt during his Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology at TAFE NSW to claim the top award in the Auto Electrical category.
The event gives more than 500 regional winners from across the nation an opportunity to show off their skills on a national stage and marks a milestone for Mr Neimeyer's automotive ambitions, which began as a child working on machinery with his dad and uncles on their property.
"I started my automotive apprenticeship with TAFE NSW in year 11 and I appreciated the flexibility to make it school-based so I could finish my HSC," Mr Neimeyer said.
"It wasn't just that flexibility and the chance to hone the skills I needed at TAFE NSW.
"The support I had from my teachers was great, and I was able to bring many real-life, practical skills to the workplace, especially when dealing with customers."
TAFE NSW Tamworth Head Teacher of Automotive Light Noel Woodbury said Mr Neimeyer was judged on his diagnostic skills, ability to read and interpret instructions, and even his demeanor, attitude and approach to work.
"This competition is four or five different tasks in one day, and it's a lot of pressure with people watching on," said Mr Woodbury.
"The event represents a culmination of the practical skills and clear-headed approach Sean learnt during his time at TAFE NSW.
"He's a wonderful example of how someone can get real-world skills and experience through TAFE NSW to fast-track their career while still in school"
Since completing his Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology at TAFE NSW, Mr Neimeyer has continued working at Armidale Auto Electrics.
He encourages anyone interested in a career in the industry to 'give it a go' and gain the 'in-demand skills' needed with a TAFE NSW apprenticeship.
"There aren't enough auto-sparkies around, so you'll come out of your apprenticeship right in to work," Mr Neimeyer said.
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