Russia-bound Gympie apprentice gets another national award
THE accolades keep rolling in for Gympie fridgie Patrick Brennan, with the 21-year-old adding yet another national award to his already-stacked trophy cabinet.
GYMPIE'S brightest apprentice has been chosen to represent Australia against 33 other countries in the refrigeration category of next year's WorldSkills International Competition in Russia.
21-year-old Patrick Brennan, an R&A apprentice with Tony Stephens Refrigeration, made the final "Skillaroo” team after beating out friend and Cleveland-based competitor Chris McNally in an Australian-first head-to-head clash to claim the coveted spot.
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The duo were put through their paces in refrigeration installs, refrigeration and electrical testing and fault finding "under the watchful eye” of mentor, TAFE teacher and training manager Carl Balke.
Mr Brennan's international nod comes after he earned preliminary selection by claiming gold in the R&A category of the WorldSkills Australia national championships in Sydney in May.
"It feels pretty good to be chosen, it's one step closer for me again,” Mr Brennan said.
"It was probably my dedication to the weekly training sessions that won me the spot in the end, but there was a bit of bad luck on Chris's end as well.
"It's pretty crazy to think about getting on a plane and going to Russia but I've done a bit more flying here and there this year so I'm a bit more used to it.
"I'm going into the competition next year just wanting to enjoy the experience, you only get one crack at something like this so I definitely want to make the most out of it and represent my country and my trade well.”
As Mr Brennan moves closer to the competition and becoming a fully qualified "fridgie” by around May next year, he expressed thanks to employer Tony Stephens and his wife Judy, as well as Mr Balke.
"Tony and Judy have given plenty of their time and resources to help me on my way to where I am now, and I couldn't thank them enough,” Mr Brennan said.
"I'm definitely keen on staying around Gympie after I become fully qualified so I can give back to them.”
WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd said previously that representing Australia at the WorldSkils competition "can be likened to a skill Olympics” and was a "once in a lifetime opportunity” for the "Skillaroos”.