Sparkie Sets Sights On Title

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Former Rodney College student Logan Sanders will chase the title of top industrial electrician at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi next month.

The 21-year-old, who grew up in Port Albert, was selected as New Zealand’s only industrial electrician after claiming top spot at the national 2016 Electrical Apprentice of the Year Competition.

At WorldSkills, Logan will compete against 20 other tradesmen, with 51 trades in total represented. The event is expected to attract about 1300 competitors.

Logan works for Dalton Electrical in Auckland where a large part of the work is at manufacturing plants.

“We do a lot of programming and wiring for automated machinery,” he says.

“I enjoy learning every day because the technology is constantly changing.”

In July, he travelled to China, where he had one last test to confirm his place in the Abu Dhabi event.

Here he was timed to do the electrical circuitry and programming to mimic a manufacturing process.

“I knew I had the skill set to complete it, but when you have a time limit the pressure makes it a lot more difficult.

“The programming software over there is different, too, so that was something I had to pick up quickly.”
Logan had only previously travelled to Australia, so the trip to Shanghai also provided a cultural experience.

“There were high rise buildings as far as the eye could see, which wasn’t very far with all the smog.”
Logan is currently training at least 20 hours a week on top of working a 40-hour week.

“In NZ we aren’t very well-funded, whereas competitors from places like China, Korea and Russia can afford to train full time for a month prior to the competition.”

Training involves assembling an automated oven unit that will take in items via a conveyer belt and then heat them for a set time period. This is a test project for the actual WorldSkills event where the project will be changed by a minimum of 30 per cent.

“I think that I will have a better chance if there are more changes because I’ve been working on a broad range of skills, while other competitors have been focused on the current design longer than I have.”

Logan has been tinkering with his test oven for eight weeks and will intensify his training leading up to the competition being held from October 15 to 19.

Despite his dedication, he wasn’t interested in electronics when growing up.

“After getting a shock from the farm fence a few times I was put off, but when I left school a year early Mum told me I had to get into a trade.”

After the event, Logan plans to travel through Europe for two months before returning to NZ.