MOE apprentice, Sebastian Battista will be heading over to Lyon, France after being selected for the Skillaroos training squad to represent Australia at the 47th Worldskills Competition in September.

The fourth-year apprentice plumber will be competing against other young tradies from across the world in a range of contests surrounding his chosen trade.

WorldSkills is a vocation-based international competition with more than 60 trades and skills from seven skill clusters that challenges competitors on their employability skills, practical knowledge and competency, life skills, and ambition.

Tasks are designed by industry and skill experts with more than 1400 young employees representing their countries and regions strongly and proudly.

To get to this point, participants undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship and undertaking or having completed a qualification transition through regional, national and international competitions that spans over a two-year period with the Nationals being held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (known as Jeff’s Shed).

From the plumbing and heating side of things, the assignment confines competitors to a small face as they use their knowledge, skills and experiences to complete an adequate pipe system that involves strenuous planning.

Sebastian is more than prepared for what is to come when he’s in the thick of competition but isn’t concerned about the end result and will bask in the occasion.

“I’d like to do well but, I guess, you don’t know until we get there how I’ll perform, all I can do is plan as much as I can and be as prepared as I can,” he said.

It’s not all down-the-line when it comes to these piping’s either, there is a creative element to it as well. Besides testing to see if the fittings actually work and don’t leak, markers judge the appearance as well.

Sebastian has a number of his works around the work shed with ones shaped like the map of Australia and spelling out his name.

Family affair: Sebastian alongside his father, Danny and brothers Xavier (far left) and Dominic (far right). Photograph: Blake Metcalf-Holt

Sebastian says that this opportunity is all about refining skills acquired at work and in practice for competitions like this by finding different methods to do a better job and be a better employee.

“I’m always learning, especially when it comes internationally, like you see on that project (points to a practice build) there’s a lot of things that have to all line up, there’s a lot of measurements (to work out) because you only get a small cubicle,” he said.

“So, you’ve got to be very precise with everything you go about doing.”

Sebastian has seen plenty of support along his way to the world stage from his own work at Battista Plumbing & Gasfitting, the Skillaroos program, and Worldskills Australia as well as sponsored backing from the likes of his local TAFE Gippsland, REECE Plumbing, Rothenberger tools, and Latrobe Valley Enterprises.

Sebastian has had his hand in the profession ever since he could remember. His father, Danny runs a successful plumbing business in Moe and has had a strong influence on all three of his sons who also work in the family business.

“There’s plenty of things in here to prove it (in the shed), he has been doing it a long time, I think he celebrated 40 years a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve always grown up on the tools with him, (on) weekends, after school, it’s always been my trade,” Sebastian said.

Danny admits it was no accident that his all his offspring chose this path.

“It sort of became a bit of a hidden agenda and I almost pushed them and wanted them to go to this because I had this vision where I built this.

We pushed them, we made them work no matter whatever we were doing they always had to work because you don’t get a free lunch these days… of course, the proof is in the pudding and when they get old enough they’re rewarded in the sense that, forget about the money side of it, they’ll have some sort of satisfaction because they’ll be capable,” Danny said.

Perfection: One of Battista’s many practice creations in preparation for France. Photograph: Blake Metcalf-Holt

When asked about what makes Sebastian such a good plumber and how he’s been so successful in these situations, his father mentioned that it’s his attention to detail and work ethic that makes him exceptional.

“Basically, the time and effort he puts into things, I see. The approach that he has on jobs, I see and I can see that he’s not a bull at the gate like me. At this point in time, you can see the work that he has done, I couldn’t do it, you’ve got to have patience for it, (and) so you’ve got to be a special person, a special type of person,” Danny said.

The entire family will be making the trip over to France to be right in his corner.

“He’s got the opportunity of a lifetime where, as far as we’re concerned, he’s already a winner, it doesn’t matter what happens over there… I don’t care what the outcome is, as far as we’re concerned, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off of our faces for at least a little while,” Danny said proudly.