Home 5 News & Views 5 Celebrating Victoria & Tasmania’s Top Talent at Weld Australia’s 2023 Welding Excellence Awards

Celebrating Victoria & Tasmania’s Top Talent at Weld Australia’s 2023 Welding Excellence Awards

Nov 30, 2023

Craftsmanship, quality and professionalism were front and centre last night, with the winners of the 2023 Victoria and Tasmania Welding Excellence Awards announced in Melbourne. Weld Australia’s Excellence Awards are the most prestigious event on the welding industry calendar.

The Awards showcase and celebrate the world-class work being undertaken by local welders, fabricators and industry educators. This year, the awards were held at Huntingdale Golf Club and saw the best and brightest from the Victorian and Tasmanian welding industry come together to acknowledge the incredible calibre of work achieved over the past 12 months.

According to Weld Australia’s CEO, Geoff Crittenden, “The 2023 Welding Excellence Awards shine a light on the remarkable talents of welders and fabricators right across Victoria and Tasmania. Weld Australia is thrilled to celebrate both businesses and individuals who are making waves in welding through their dedication to quality, safety and innovation.”

“This year’s winners feature businesses and individuals committed to the pursuit of innovative, sustainable solutions that minimise risk and maximise project outcomes, as well as initiatives designed to increase the breadth and depth of skilled labour within the welding sector,” Crittenden said.

Alstom won the 2023 Company of the Year Award – Fabrication. Alstom is the leading rail manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand. They have provided sustainable infrastructure solutions for more than 100 years, and currently  employ over 2,300 people across more than 25 sites. Alstom’s Dandenong manufacturing site is home to their Welding Centre of Excellence where they develop skills and teach advanced welding technologies, testing and certification. The Centre of Excellence specialises in resistance spot welding and arc welding, and is accredited to both EN 15085 and AS/NZS ISO 3834.
Coregas won the 2023 Company of the Year Award – Supplier. Coregas is the only Australian industrial gases company and has been operating since 1974. They manufacture gases locally and distribute throughout Australia and New Zealand via a network of branches and third parties. As a key partner to the welding industry, Coregas continually seeks to raise the bar in terms of service, quality, and value. Coregas invests heavily in community organisations, the learning and development of its people, and continuous improvement in quality and safety.
Shadbolt Group won the 2023 Project of the Year Award for their Thermal Oxidiser Project. The Thermal Oxidiser is used to treat waste vapours and liquid wastes by combustion before it is exhausted to the atmosphere to control air pollution. The Oxidiser was 18m tall x 3.6m in diameter. Shadbolt Group supplied materials and all necessary labour to fabricate, weld, test, trial assemble, surface treat and install the main vertical Oxidiser section. Since the late 1980s, Shadbolt Group has grown from a general engineering and maintenance workshop into a highly professional heavy steel fabrication and installation organisation. Certified to AS/NZS ISO 3834, they regularly work with high profile projects in the defence, mining, oil and gas and water industries.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety, Corrections Victoria, won the inaugural President’s Award for an Outstanding Social Project in Welding for their VET Centre of Excellence. In 2022, Corrections Victoria expanded its VET Centre of Excellence model to deliver Fusion Welding to ISO 9606 certification standard to complement their Metal Fabrication industry at HM Prison Langi Kal Kal. Federation University delivers the training program with the support of Weld Australia and on-site prison industry staff. As part of the program, augmented reality training was introduced to expand the welding skills of the prisoner learners to meet international standards. A welding workshop sits alongside the augmented reality training room so that participants can work on projects to use and practice their welding skills in the physical as well as virtual environments. The VET Centre of Excellence model links participating prisoners with prospective employers and pre- and post-release support service providers. These connections provide prisoners with sustainable pathways to employment and support to reintegrate to society post-release.

TAFE Gippsland won the 2023 Training and Education – Organisation Award for Victoria. TAFE Gippsland is setting the benchmark for the delivery of accessible, quality vocational education and training. Their new Port of Sale Campus is fitted with cutting-edge technology such as CNC lathes and mills. This equipment gives students the change to experience working with real-world technology and equipment. The campus has also recently added an advanced hydraulic and pneumatic training centre for both engineering and automotive students in response to industry need. The TAFE Gippsland team includes highly qualified and skilled staff who have worked across all facets of the trade.

The Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council (TMEC) won the 2023 Training and Education – Organisation Award for Tasmania. TMEC’s Advanced Welding Centre provides welder training and assessment utilising the latest augmented reality welding simulators. TMEC delivers a range of industry led training, providing access to flexible welder training and certification solutions for Tasmanian industry. TMEC has delivered innovative programs specifically aimed at increasing workforce participation, designed for long-term unemployed and migrants. TMEC has also developed a foundational program for beginners, and an inclusive program to increase female participation.

Brad Menzies from Chisholm Institute won the 2023 Training and Education – Individual Teacher Award. Brad is a Senior Fabrication Teacher at Chisholm. According to his colleagues, Brad is focused on successful outcomes for his students, and builds rapport and trust with students easily. Brad has maintained a student retention rate of 95%, demonstrating just how engaging his classes are. Brad started his career as general labour, before completing an apprenticeship in fabrication. While working at Allsteel in Dandenong, he completed his Certificate IV in Training Assessment. He has been at Chisholm Institute since 2015.
Blair Hogan from Mallee Steel was named the 2023 Young Trades Person of the Year. Blair started his Cert II in Engineering while he was in Year 10 at high school. The following year, he started a school based apprenticeship, which he then continued full-time. Blair has won several awards, including SuniTAFEs 2023 Apprentice of the Year. He also won his category in the WorldSkills Regional Championships last year, and went on to compete at the finals in Melbourne this year. Blair’s commitment to his craft, evidenced by his rigorous self-imposed standards and his enthusiasm for mentoring the next generation, makes him a deserving winner.
Mark Seiter from Furphy Engineering was named 2023 Tradesperson of the Year. Mark started a Certificate III in Engineering with Furphy Engineering in 2016. Since then, he has been promoted several times based on his exceptional workmanship, can do attitude, and people management skills. In 2019, he become a leading hand and in 2021, was offered a role in Furphy’s Quality Assurance and Control department. He went to obtain AS 1796 Certificate 7 and 10, as well as AS 2214 Welding Supervisor qualifications. This training saw him promoted again to Area Captain in Furphy’s Special Projects Area – where he works on projects that require special attention due to their difficult build process or extraordinary specifications. Mark is a valued, dependable member of the Furphy team who lives by the Furphy Engineering moto, Good. Better. Best.
Jason Davey from Marand was named the Welding Professional of the Year – Welding Coordinator in Victoria. Jason’s expertise in welding is deeply respected at Marand, where he plays a pivotal role in everything from project consultation to the execution of welds that meet stringent aerospace and defence industry standards. Jason’s commitment to education is evident. He mentors apprentices and helps qualify tradespeople to meet exceptional welding standards, including international benchmarks in armour plate welding—a skill he honed through specialised training in Germany. With a 37-year career, Jason’s dedication to excellence in welding is not just about perfecting his craft but inspiring the next generation of welders.  
Danny Patmore from Jayben Group won the 2023 Welding Professional of the Year – Welding Coordinator Award for Tasmania. Danny is building an impressive welding career built upon expertise and dedication. Starting out as an apprentice boilermaker in 2006, he now holds certifications such as IWS, IWI-B and AS2214. He is dedicated to nurturing a culture of continuous learning and skill enhancement, regularly passing on his knowledge to team members. Danny has also played a key role in introducing new technologies into Jayben Group, including weld tracking systems and a cobot.
Merrill De Gee from Structural Challenge won the 2023 Welding Professional of the Year – Welding Supervisor Award. Merrill boasts a remarkable 35 year career. He has worked on a range of iconic projects, including local projects the Docklands Stadium, the Desalination Plant and the MCG; as well as international projects like the Bangkok Airport and Singapore Casino. As Production Manager and Welding Supervisor at Structural Challenge, he oversees production and planning, provides crucial employee training, develops weld procedures, and conducts in-house inspections, ensuring quality and efficiency. Merrill is also dedicated to lifelong learning, recently completing both AS 2214 certification, and a Certificate IV in Process Manufacturing, specialising in lean manufacturing.


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