Apprentice hard to beat. Panelbeater off to national World Skills finals

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Gore apprentice Shae Davis has been selected to compete at the World Skills New Zealand competition after taking first place at the Southland round.
The 19-year-old Michael Hood Panelbeating apprentice — who started out working after school for the business — could find himself competing in the world championships in Dubai if he is successful at the national competition.
The competition will be held in Hamilton over four days from September 29 to October 2.
Mr Davis is competing in the automotive refinish category.
Michael Hood Panelbeating owners Grace and Michael Hood said it was fantastic that Mr Davis had been chosen to represent the region at the national competition.
‘‘We’re excited and proud of him; he is one of the most awesome young men ever,’’ Mrs Hood said.
Mrs Hood said Mr Davis was extremely dedicated, and was well respected by his workmates and customers.
He has completed two and a-half years of his apprenticeship.
Originally, Mr Davis wanted to be a mechanic when he was at secondary school, but with a little gentle steering from Mr Hood he changed his direction, a decision that has proved to be a winner.
This was the first time the Gore business had anyone entered in the competition.
Mr Davis was keen to take part in the national competition.
‘‘I just think it will be a good opportunity to test my skills,’’ he said.
Working on Jaguar cars was a highlight for him. The hand-made classics were built locally and the panelbeating business carried out the finishing work.
‘‘They’re just something different. I like what I do,’’ Mr Davis said.
The Jaguars provided a challenge as their panels were curved, he said.
One of the challenges Mr Davis faced in the regional and now in the national competition was using water-based paint when he was used to solvent-based paint. He had undergone some training in the painting technique and would do more.
Mr Hood described the national competition as a good way to benchmark where apprentices were with their skill sets.
He was keen to get his apprentices started on the job from their first day at the business. There was very little floor sweeping and lots of handson experience, he said.
‘‘When we take on an apprentice, we put them straight to work sanding, priming, masking, working on vehicles from day one rather than sweeping floors.
‘‘We like to keep apprentices interested,’’ Mr Hood said.
Resene Automotive and Light Industrial Southern regional manager Jason Fouche said World Skills was an international competition that brought together young people from 73 countries.
Competitors have to be the best of the best in their respective trade skills areas, and share one common goal: to win titles for themselves, their countries and their vocations.
‘‘At each competition, 50 different trade skills are put to the test, from welding to hairdressing, restaurant service to automotive refinishing,’’ Mr Fouche said.