June 15, 2005
Tool Blacks among best in the world
The success of the Tool Blacks in the World Skills competition is testimony to the quality of New Zealand’s trade training, says the country’s largest union.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union sponsored union members Dion Hubers, Scott Eyre and Dean Lipscombe from the New Zealand Steel mill at Glenbrook to attend the competition in Helskini. Hubers came ninth in his trade, welding, (with 518 points) and Eyre was 16th in mechatronics, with 494 points. Lipscombe, an electrician, was the team manager.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little, who met the three before they left for Helsinki, said that their success reflected well on them, the steel mill, and the standard of trade training in New Zealand.
“There was a view in the 1990s that trade training was somehow unnecessary, leading to the skills crisis we have now,” Mr Little said.
“Thankfully, that attitude has changed, and our young tradespeople are earning world rankings.”
Glenbrook steel mill senior union delegate and tradesman Peter Elsley said that everyone at the mill was proud of the success of their young colleagues.
“The competition at those things is unbelievable,” he said. “Some countries spend thousands developing, training and equipping their teams, but New Zealanders do it on a shoestring. To be placed 9th and 16th in the world is amazing.”