Karratha WorldSkills bronze winner hopes to inspire

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Karratha Senior High School’s WorldSkills National Championship competitors, Jennifer Allen, 17, Caitlin Budd, 16, and Tyler Sharp, 16.
Camera IconKarratha Senior High School’s WorldSkills National Championship competitors, Jennifer Allen, 17, Caitlin Budd, 16, and Tyler Sharp, 16. Credit: Nic Kot

A Karratha Senior High School student who has claimed bronze in the electrotechnology category of a major Australian vocational education and training competition says she hopes to inspire more women to get into the male-dominated field.

Sixteen-year-old Caitlin Budd, of Millars Well, shone in the electrotechnology — VETiS field at the three-day WorldSkills National Championships held in Sydney earlier this month where challenges included soldering, cabling and installing electrical fittings.

After qualifying at last year’s regional Pilbara WorldSkills competition, Caitlin was one of only a few female competitors in the electrical division at the tournament.

The Year 12 student — who is studying a Certificate II in Electrotechnology and plans to take up an apprenticeship next year — said she hoped her achievement would show other girls the opportunities now available to them in the field.

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“I was most proud of myself for being one of the only girls (there) in the area and to get up on stage and show other girls we can do this,” she said.

“There are positions open for us in the field now, guys are letting us in — they’re actually looking for women in these areas — and if you want to you can do it as well.”

Caitlin was one of 11 WA medal winners at the championships, which attracted more than 1000 competitors and competition officials as well as tens of thousands of local, interstate and international visitors.

Two other Karratha SHS students, Tyler Sharp, 16, and Jennifer Allen, 17, also competed in electrotechnology and commercial cooking respectively, supported by teachers Alun Jones and Nickie Ralph.

WorldSkills Australia chief executive Brett Judd said the tournament created “life-changing opportunities” for competitors and was “a celebration of the strengths of Australia’s vocational training system”.

Education Minister Sue Ellery said it was encouraging to see so many WA students perform well in trades fields on a national stage.

“Their achievements help shine a light on the training sector — the achievements of the apprentices and trainees themselves, the great work of our training providers who are skilling our future workforce and the opportunities that are available for those learning a trade, especially as jobs change and diversify,” she said.

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