Fitting in at WorldSkills 08

Kalon Heintze is a Fitter for the WorldSkills 2008 National Competition - but as a trade, he's a fitter and turner. He chats about how he became a fitter and turner, from his apprenticeship in Adelaide. He shows us what he's building at WorldSkills and shows us some tools of the trade. He shares the pressures of the competition at WorldSkills - and shares his experiences at past WorldSkills, and what the judges are looking for.

About Fitters And Turners at WorldSkills:

Fitters shape and assemble metal components to very precise tolerances through the skilled use of hand tools, measuring equipment using a variety of machines such as drills, lathes, grinders and milling machines. Competitors at this year's WorldSkills event will be making a turbine and air receiver by hand.

About Kalon:

Kalon grew up on a farm in the north west of country Victoria. He is the youngest of 4 children. His mum and dad live and work on the farm while his eldest brother is doing his PhD in Physics and is still at uni, the next brother down also did his apprenticeship in fitting and turning and works at DSTO as well.

Kalon’s sister is a schoolteacher. Kalon moved to Adelaide to do his apprenticeship through the group-training scheme. The first three years of his apprenticeship were at Electrolux and he transferred from there to the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) to do the last 7 months of his apprenticeship. He finished his apprenticeship in January this year.

A lot of the work Kalon does for the DSTO is ‘top secret’. The parts he makes are part of a bigger project – top security clearance sort of stuff, so he doesn’t see it all come together and a lot of the time he’s not sure what he’s making.

He finds this work interesting as he gets to see things most other people don’t. Kalon competed at WorldSkills 05 and won a bronze in both the fluid power and fitting categories. At WorldSkills 07 he won the gold in fitting and got the silver in fluid power.

He says he had an advantage over the other competitors in his second year, as he knew what to expect and knew what skills he needed to improve on to win. Kalon thinks WorldSkills is a great idea because it shows you, and others, how good you are at your job. You can showcase how good you are to your fellow industry workers and peers.

Kalon thinks that winning WorldSkills is a great thing to be able to put on your resume as employers look at it and is highly regarded. Kalon would eventually like to do an advanced diploma in mechanical engineering.

VJ Edith Veilleux