Chisholm TAFE student Blake McDonald has been crowned the ‘Best Welder in Victoria for 2018’ following the third annual Welding Triathlon at the Frankston campus on Saturday (14 April 2018).. 

The event was run in conjunction with Welding Australia (formerly the Welding Technology Institute of Australia - WTIA) and the 12 competitors varied from Welding Apprentice’s (Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade), to professional welders and instructors.

Participants demonstrated exceptional welding skills across three timed events displaying extensive knowledge of three different welding processes, materials, and positions. They were judged on speed, accuracy, skill and adherence to welding procedures.

The three welds required were a horizontal fillet using the gas tungsten arc process on aluminium, a single “V” vertical butt weld 10mm plate using flux core arc welding and a pipe inclined on a 45 degree angle with a GTAW root weld caped by Hydrogen controlled Arc electrodes.

The winners were all Chisholm alumni, Blake McDonald (first prize), Daniel Harrison (second prize) and Gary Horn (third prize) were awarded for top welds. First place was awarded a special prize with the overall winner crowned the ‘Best Welder in Victoria.’

Prizes and support were generously donated by event sponsors WTIA, Bombardier, Dandy Gas, Wurth, Tool House, BOC, Lincoln, Cigweld, Independent Wholesale Welding Supplies and Kemppi.

Participants used a range of Chisholm’s industry standard equipment including state of the art Kemppi Welding machines for both MIG and TIG/ARC and a modern Lincoln virtual reality (VR) welding machine.

Event organiser and Chisholm teacher Rodney Bentvelzen said the event promotes welding as an attractive career choice, allowing participants to network with inspectors, fellow welders, and industry leaders and for the general public to check out our training facility here at Chisholm.

“This year’s event was the biggest so far and we’re already excited about what 2019 will bring. With the Frankston redevelopment underway it’s a really exciting time for the students and staff to be a part of Chisholm“.

“Welding and manufacturing in Australia demands high quality tradespeople to stay competitive and has traditionally been very manual. As welding machine technologies adapt via programming and inverter power sources welding has become a highly technical skill,” said Bentvelzen.

The annual Welding Australia Triathlon exists to encourage young people to become involved in the welding and fabrication industry (manufacturing).

Winner Blake McDonald says “I found it challenging this year having to use the Lincoln VR machine. That was a surprise!”.

“I’ve competed the last two years and came last in 2017. I was determined to do better this year. I’ve done a full 180”.

Chisholm's Frankston campus is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar redevelopment that will see modern purpose built facilities to deliver training across the higher education, health, advanced manufacturing, IT and trades vocations.

It is still business as usual at the Frankston campus. Rodney, a welding teacher says the Certificate II in Engineering, Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade and the popular Certificate IV in Engineering are still running during the day and at night.

Chisholm is one of only two registered training organisations in Australia accredited to run International Institute of Welding (IIW) welding specialist and inspector courses.

The Welding Australia Triathlon will return bigger and better in 2019.

Interested contestants can contact Robert Vernon on 0487 400 002 or Rodney Bentvelzen at Chisholm TAFE on 9238 8233 to complete an expression of interest for 2019.