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NZITP Skills Team Wins Gold Medal and 5 Medallions of Excellence


Air New Zealand aircraft engineer, Jarrod Wood, won the gold medal in the aircraft maintenance skill competition of the 44th WorldSkills International Competition that was held 15-18 October 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Wood was also awarded Best in Nation, for having the highest marks amongst all Competitors from New Zealand.

Malcolm Harris, CEO of WorldSkills New Zealand, says, “I am thrilled with the performance of the NZITP Skills Team at the recent WorldSkills International competition held in Abu Dhabi Oct 14-18.The team competed in 13 of 51 Skill categories in the competition attended by over 1300 of the world’s finest young skill apprentices.”  He adds that “A Gold medal won by Jarrod Wood in the Aircraft Maintenance category sealed a very good team performance with another five competitors winning Medallions of Excellence for top scores.” 

Michael Naus, the Deputy Chief Expert on aircraft maintenance who coached Wood throughout his training, says the “Competition in the Aircraft Maintenance skill was very intense with Jarrod competing against 15 other top young engineers from countries with strong aviation backgrounds, such as France, UK, China, and Canada.  Jarrod won through an extremely consistent application of the knowledge and skills gained from his training in the workplace with Air New Zealand and ServiceIQ.  Changes introduced into the test projects at the last minute affected some competitors – but in true Kiwi style – Jarrod rolled with the changes by staying unruffled and applying his core trade skills to the job at hand to achieve this outstanding result.”

“I am very proud to have played a part in helping Jarrod to be recognised as the top young Aircraft Engineer in the world.  Jarrod proved his trade skills by winning the WorldSkills New Zealand National Competition last year, but since then what has stood out are his dedication to the goals he sets himself, steadfast attention to detail, determination to succeed, and dealing with stress.  While many people have great skills or attitudes, Jarrod brings the whole package to bear and he richly deserves the gold medal.”

“I would also like to give sincere thanks to Jarrod’s supporters at Air New Zealand, who helped hugely with his preparation, and especially to his family who have stood right by him throughout this journey,” Naus adds.

Wood, for his part, shares his experience on the Competition: “The competition skill of aircraft maintenance was full of professionals. It is a very good reflection of the people in our trade. Every day was a challenge. But Mike [Naus, the NZ Skill Expert on aircraft maintenance who coached Wood throughout his training] and I took it day by day and that seemed to work well.”

“I was so humbled to be standing on the stage next to Finland and Korea. Winning gold was such a shock. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. But I feel privileged and proud to be bringing back NZ’s second ever gold medal. I’m also proud to have been awarded Best in Nation.”

Wood, nonetheless, stresses, “But the whole NZ Team deserved that award. They’re such amazing professionals in their respective trades, and can all be proud of their performance.”

The five Medallions of Excellence won by the New Zealand Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (NZITP) Skills Team were the following: Chabbethai Chia for Electrical Installation; Hunter Turner for Plumbing and Heating; Nicholas Todd for Cooking; Sarah Browning for Graphic Design Technology; and Shea Keir for Industrial Mechanic Millwright.

1,300 young people from 59 WorldSkills Member countries and regions showcased their talent across 51 skills competitions, between 15-18 October. This was the first time that the WorldSkills Competition has been held in the Middle East and North Africa region.

At the Closing Ceremony at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi – with around 10,000 international visitors and a global audience more than 825,000 online – watched Competitors discover who had won coveted gold, silver, and bronze WorldSkills medals. In addition to the presentation of medals, the Closing Ceremony provided an opportunity to reflect on the success of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, the largest WorldSkills Competition to date, which attracted more than 125,000 visitors.

Held in conjunction with the Competition were the WorldSkills Conference 2017 and the first International TVET Youth Forum. These provided a unique opportunity for young professionals, Ministers, and other global policymakers to debate the major issues that the vocational education sector faces.

The Closing Ceremony of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 ended with the handover of the WorldSkills flag to the next hosts, WorldSkills Kazan 2019.  The 45th WorldSkills Competition will be held on 29 August – 3 September 2019 in Kazan, Russia.

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WorldSkills New Zealand 

Home of the NZ National Skills Team

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