A TAFE NSW Orange student and teacher have taken top honours at the 2023 New South Wales and ACT Welding Excellence Awards, held this week in Sydney.
Weld Australia's Excellence Awards showcase and celebrate the distinctive work of local welders, fabricators, and industry educators.
Harrison Field has been named Young Tradesperson of the Year, while his teacher, Nathan Kelly, won the 2023 Training and Education – Individual Teacher Award.
This is Harrison’s second gold medal, after taking the top honour at the 2023 WorldSkills National Championships in August. Harrison, 20, who completed his Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade in 2022 and works at A-OK Metal Fabrication in Bathurst, said becoming a winner takes hard work.
“It’s an honour to receive this award off the back of my WorldSkills win, but looking back to when I first started my apprenticeship, I had so much to learn. Putting in the hard work on the job and in my studies at TAFE NSW made all the difference, and I now get to see it pay off.”
Nathan Kelly delivers the Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade at TAFE NSW, is an experienced welder, and is actively involved with WorldSkills Australia as a team leader and mentor to competitors in metal fabrication and welding.
“It means a lot to be recognised by Weld Australia and I am honoured to receive such a prestigious award, but I’m most proud to see Harrison receive the recognition he deserves. He’s motivated, works incredibly hard, has a genuine passion for his trade, and is always determined to be the best. The sky's the limit for this talented young man,” Nathan said.
Harrison said Nathan played a big role in helping him get where he is today.
“Nathan is unreal. No one really sees the amount of work he puts in to help his TAFE NSW students in the Certificate III and around WorldSkills. He’s amazing at what he does and has a real passion for the craft. He deserves his award.”
Weld Australia's CEO, Geoff Crittenden said the Welding Excellence Awards recognised innovation, quality, and safety.
"Our winners this year represent both businesses and individuals dedicated to crafting innovative and sustainable strategies, prioritising safety, and enhancing the overall skill set in the welding community.”
Harrison is now focussed on continuing to build experience and hone his skills ahead of the World Skills international competition in Lyon, France, in 2024.
“I’ve never been overseas before, so it’s exciting to be travelling for the first time while doing what I love. I just love welding – making stuff and seeing the finished product is a reward in itself, but this award has shown me that hard work pays off, and I want to continue to achieve more certificates with TAFE NSW.”
Harrison’s advice to school leavers or anyone thinking about a career in fabrication is tenacity.
“The support I received during my time at TAFE NSW from Nathan helped me get where I am today, but I’m also very passionate. Find what you enjoy, put in the hard work, and stick to it,” he said.
Media contact: Emily Graham, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, email@example.com, 02 7921 3756.