Winning at welding

While at VU, Darren Barnes encountered a unique opportunity to hone his craft – by competing against other welders across the country in WorldSkills. He finished in the top ten both times.

 Darren Barnes welding

I chose a trade-based pathway during my two final years at school. I went to school for three days, worked at Toll Fleet and Linehaul Services as an apprentice for one day, and studied a Certificate III in Engineering for one day. Toll chose VU as the place for me to complete all my studies.

During my time with VU I gained the opportunity to enter the WorldSkills Australia competition twice, and competed in the welding category. In 2014 I finished 10th in Australia and in 2016 I finished 3rd in Australia. VU staff were supportive in the lead-up to both competitions and provided materials, machines, work equipment, and knowledge.

The teachers at VU are very knowledgeable and always willing to help – and the facilities are great. I learnt a lot from my VU courses due to the variety and combination of theory and practice.

Along with completing my TAFE courses and competing in WorldSkills, I’d say my greatest achievement would be finishing my four-year apprenticeship with Toll and becoming a Boilermaker/Welder, which is where I currently work. My long-term goals are to become a WorldSkills judge as well as a welding supervisor or teacher. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping the next generation of apprentices starting their careers.

Courses studied