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Local Lismore mechanic Nicholas McLaren has won silver at the 2021 WorldSkills Australia National Championships after completing his apprenticeship at TAFE NSW Wollongbar.

Competing in the country's largest trades and skills competition, Mr McLaren showcased the skills he learnt during his Certificate III in Automotive at TAFE NSW and claimed one of the top awards in the Automotive 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 McLaren’s automotive ambitions, which began as a hobby working on his own cars.

Mr McLaren was tasked with repairing and diagnosing vehicles including areas of engine measurement and repair, steering suspension and brakes, electronic diagnosis, safety and servicing.

“The competition was a real challenge and it was so rewarding to be able to test my abilities in my trade. 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.”

Mr McLaren is following in the footsteps of his employer, Jake Hiscock from Lismore Car Repairs who won a gold medal at WorldSkills in 2016. Mr Hiscock said he always looks to hire from TAFE NSW because of the top quality teaching and development of the highest calibre of graduates.

“Nicholas is a true professional and his work is a positive reflection on the industry. We are proud to hire staff that are at an elite skill-level so that we can continue providing our customers with great service.”

The Automotive industry employs over 356,000 Australians. Demand for automotive workers is growing due to an ageing workforce, the increase in technical skills required for modern vehicles, people holding onto older vehicles, increases in domestic driving holidays, and the return to commuting by motor vehicles following COVID-19 disruptions.

TAFE NSW Automotive Head Teacher Kirk Trease congratulated Mr McLaren on his outstanding display of talent and the preparation he put into the competition in the months leading up to it.

“The demand for employees growing, which means now is the time to get qualified. The Certificate III in Automotive Technology is a nationally accredited course and fully subsidised under JobTrainer.”

For more information about courses at TAFE NSW or via TAFE Digital, visit or phone 131 601.


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, Break