Nicholas O'Mara fine tuning his carpentry skills at TAFE.
Nicholas O'Mara fine tuning his carpentry skills at TAFE.

Knock on wood: Nerves of steel for WorldSkills finalist

NICHOLAS O'Mara wasn't nervous heading into the WorldSkills regional competition, but it's a different story now he's off to Melbourne to take on apprentice carpenters from across the country.

"I didn't really know how big it was," he said recalling his lack of nerves for the Northern Rivers competition.

"I gave it my best shot and I ended up coming first.

"I'm starting to get really nervous about just how huge of an event it is and all of the media, it's pretty full on," he added about the national competition in October.

"I need to knuckle down and do some more training, I think I'll do reasonably well.

"I don't have too high exceptions. I'm happy to get to nationals, it's quite an achievement in itself."

When Nicholas took out the gold in apprentice carpentry he said he felt really happy.

"I couldn't wait to tell my grandfather who was my employer at the time," he said.

"I just felt like I'd achieved something, I felt like I was making some progress in my career."

Nicholas added that his whole family were proud of his achievement.

"Everyone is hoping I do well in Melbourne later on this year," he said.

Nicholas' love of carpentry started at a young age.

"From whenever I was old enough to pick up a nail bag I was trying to get on the job site... I was really interested in hands on activities and building things," he said.

Now, Nicholas is Brisbane working in roof construction and doesn't have any firm plans for the future.

"Just going to keep continuing on doing what I'm doing now. I'll see what happens with WorldSkills, I might get some more career options," he said.

Grafton TAFE is holding a fundraiser for the four participants, Shannon Thompson, Hannah Elliot, Nicholas O'Mara and Isabella DeMattia, on Wednesday, August 31.

Tickets are $45 per head or $260 for a table of 6 which includes a three course meal with house wine or tap beer on arrival. To book, call 6641 1704.



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