HEAT'S ON: Josh Harris is busy preparing to represent Australia in Canada after winning the under-20 welding competition at the Australian Skills Championships.
HEAT'S ON: Josh Harris is busy preparing to represent Australia in Canada after winning the under-20 welding competition at the Australian Skills Championships. The Northern Star/Jacklyn Wagner

When the heat's on, Josh fires up

JOSH HARRIS of Kyogle doesn't believe in doing things half-heartedly.

So when the talented welder was named to compete at the Australian Skills Championships, he practiced after work three times a week, five hours a night.

His dedication to the craft paid off last weekend when the 20-year-old was crowned under-20 welding champion at the three-day competition in Sydney.

The competition - which involved 22 competitors in the welding category completing three five-hour welding shifts - was judged by a panel of 13 judges and the winner was determined by the quality of workmanship and by the safety of their conduct.

While having judges watch your every move can be daunting, Mr Harris said he tried not to let nerves get to him.

“You need to have your hands as steady as possible while working, so it's very important not to think about nerves,” he said.

“You're always dealing with pressure in my trade anyway, because if you do something wrong, and something breaks, it could kill someone.”

While winning the title came as a total surprise to the talented young tradesmen, his boss at McKeeco Engineering in Lismore, Ian Duley, said the win was a fitting reward for the hours of hard work the fourth-year apprentice had put into perfecting his trade.

“Since he started here four years ago he's always been really eager and talented,” Mr Duley said.

“But we weren't expecting anything like this.

“We are all over the moon for him because he has put a tremendous amount of work into the trade.”

As the Australian under 20 champion, the next big challenge for the Kyogle welder will be to represent Australia at the World Skills Championships in Canada later this year.



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