Meet Nick Roman: The ‘Skillaroo’ crafting his way to the ‘Tradie Olympics’

Nick Roman Skillaroo

Nick Roman is the finest young joiner in the country.

With multiple industry competition medals under his tool belt, he’s one of 25 Skilaroos heading to São Paulo, Brazil, to represent Australia in the ultimate trades and skills showdown.

The 22 year old from Illawarra, NSW, is set to prove to the world why he’s the best in the business as he brings his tricks of the trade to the 43rd WorldSkills Competition, on August 11-16.

This is the ultimate skills competition – the ‘Tradie Olympics.’ The comp will see over 1,200 of the globe’s top tradespeople – from plumbers and welders to bakers and hairdressers – representing 59 countries coming together to compete for the coveted title of World Champion in their trade.

This opportunity has been two years in the making for young Nick, starting with a gold medal for Joinery at his local WorldSkills Regional Competition in 2013, then Perth for the 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition – the nation’s premier platform for showcasing trades and skills excellence. He won that too. He’s even scored the Top Rank accolade in his TAFE class.

Nick stood out from the crowd of almost 500 Aussie competitors for both his skills and determination, and was offered a place on the 2015 Skills Squad, where the real work began. Nick was assigned a dedicated Training Manager and is currently knee deep in intensive training leading up to the international comp.

Often mistaken for a football player due to his stocky build, Nick, fell in love with his trade through a well-focused high school placement and hasn’t looked back. He studied Industrial Technology, a timber-based subject like woodwork, in conjunction with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) subject Construction.

“I’ve always loved working with my hands and making things, so I took woodwork up as a subject at high school,” he says.

“Through school I secured a work placement where I would visit once a week. Things snowballed from there and I ended up being offered an apprenticeship. The rest is history.”

“Had I not done a VET subject I would have never heard of WorldSkills Australia and never be in the position I am in now. VET subjects can also take time off apprenticeships if this is a path you choose to take.”

Nick gets satisfaction seeing the end result of his hard work, particularly after it seems difficult visualising what a project should look like on paper.

“I enjoy the fact that once something has been made, I can stand back and look at what has been produced and feel good knowing that I have the skills and knowledge to make something like that.”

Aside from the unpleasant 6:30am starts, Nick loves being a joiner and recommends the trade to anyone who likes to be hands on.

“It’s a trade that offers many different types of materials to be used so you can have a wider variety of skills,” Nick says.

Nick reckons his time with WorldSkills Australia has given him infinitely more confidence in himself and his abilities.

“I’ve really surprised myself with my ability to cope with increased pressure and knowing that if I put my mind to something I can achieve it. Professionally it has given me a better understanding of my trade. I can cope under pressure situations and can keep it cool when things heat up in the joinery arena.”

When August rolls around, Nick will pack up his spokeshave and biscuit joiner and set off for Brazil, ready to show the world just how talented he is.

For more information, visit the WorldSkills Australia website:

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