Dannevirke's Andrew Champion has won gold in the BOC welding section of the national WorldSkills competition, following in the footsteps of fellow Dannevirke RCR Energy Systems engineers.

Andrew, 19, always wanted to be an engineer, but was roofing in Tauranga when he saw a newspaper article alerting him to an opening for apprentices in heavy fabrication with Competenz, the industry training organising.

Andrew began with RCR Energy Systems in Dannevirke when he was 16 and will finish his apprenticeship next year.

"Working through the unit standards always makes you think about how much higher you can go," he said. "How you can aim to be the best tradesperson you can be.


"Doing an apprenticeship is a great way to learn to believe in yourself. Don't let anyone say you can't do what you want to do. I can travel the world as an engineer and I want to see where it takes me."

The WorldSkills event saw 67 regional competition finalists from across the country showcase their skills over 14 industry categories ranging from construction and manufacturing to engineering and creative arts.

Each competitor completed a specific project over two days, replicating problems and tasks they would encounter in their daily jobs, while being closely scrutinised by a panel of judges.

The tasks needed intense concentration, a lot of nerves and a steady hand.

"Competition was tough,"Andrew said. "All the competitors were high quality and we were up against the best."

And at RCR Energy Systems in Dannevirke there's a history of success in the WorldSkills events.

Last year welding apprentice Stacy Smyth was a member of the New Zealand Tool Blacks which travelled to Sao Paulo in Brazil to test their skills against 1300 others from around the world.

Behind Stacy's Tool Blacks success was 1000 hours of preparation with long hours of training, helped by foreman Craig Monaghan who competed in the WorldSkills international competition in 2007.

Now, as one of the WorldSkills medal winners Andrew will go forward for selection into the Tool Blacks, New Zealand's representative team for the WorldSkills Oceania competition in Melbourne early next year and the international competition in Abu Dhabi in late 2017.