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Skillaroo Harrison forges a bright path

Harrison knew welding would take him places in life, but he never imagined it would take him across the globe. The 20-year-old welding ace has been able to hone his talents thanks to the WorldSkills competitions.

Making things with metal has been in Harrison’s blood since he was young. A proud Bathurst boy, he’s been surrounded by all the great things a good welder can create.

“I just enjoy making stuff and wanted to do more of that,” Harrison said.

“So I ended up in fabricating, welding and all that stuff.”

Harrison started his apprenticeship in 2020, working for a couple of companies before landing with A.OK Metal Fabrication in Bathurst.

Image: supplied by Harrison Field

“I do a fair bit of travelling to aquatic centres around NSW, doing handrails,” he said.

“I also do a lot of general fabrication like ute canopies, trays and structural steel.

“It’s always something different each day, which I enjoy.

“I’ve even got a couple of little race cars at home which I tinker with.”


Harrison’s talent for welding wasn’t truly realised until one of his TAFE teachers suggested he enter WorldSkills.

“I never really heard of it, my boss told me about it halfway through my first year,” he said.

“He told me I should have a crack at it when it comes around, and I’ve been involved ever since.”

In 2022, Harrison competed in welding at a regional level in NSW, winning the competition. Following that, he went down to Melbourne where he took the national crown in welding in 2023.

Image: supplied by Harrison Field

From what started as a sparked curiosity, Harrison finds himself training for the WorldSkills International Championships later this year in France.

This huge step in Harrison’s career also included a trip to the US where he participated in special training for the competition.

“I’d never been on a bloody plane before I started this competition, so this is pretty cool,” he said.

Strong bond

Any skilled welder competing on an international scale doesn’t do so lightly. Harrison had to compete in some of the toughest conditions in order to prove his product was the best.

“WorldSkills picks five steel welds for competitors to do,” he said.

“The judges X-rayed the work to see if you have full penetration and all the stuff on the inside.

“Then, we’ll do a stainless steel and aluminium project which they’ll measure and check for size to make sure everything’s perfect.

“We also do a steel pressure vessel. That has heaps of different welds on it, and at the end they fill it with water and pressure.

“If it holds, you get better marks and if it leaks, you lose marks.”

Image: supplied by Harrison Field

This kind of high-pressure work has its benefits though, with Harrison stating its helped him forge a better skillset outside of WorldSkills.

“A lot of time goes into it to get things spot on,” he said.

“Some of the welds we’ve got a couple of millimetres in variation in width, so you have to be pretty dialled in for the whole time.”

Throughout his WordSkills work, Harrison has been supported by Weld Australia. The peak association for Australian welders will sponsor his trip to France for the International Championships.

“They’ve really helped me out a lot with this, it’s been great having their support,” he said.

With Weld Australia, his A.Ok workmates and his family at his back, Harrison is eager to give WorldSkills welders everything he’s got in September.

“My coworkers and family have been loving it,” Harrison said.

“They’re all really supportive of me doing it.”

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