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QinetiQ Air Affairs apprentice wins gold at WorldSkills Australia Championship


QinetiQ Air Affairs’ third-year mechanical engineering apprentice Michael Bowen has taken out first place at the WorldSkills Australia 2023 National Championships.

Michael Bowen Worldskills Australia win

The three-day competition was held in Melbourne, bringing together apprentices and trainees from 59 different trades and skills across Australia.

Michael’s gold win in the Fitting division saw him compete against 11 of his peers starting with creating a job plan to meet required specifications.

From there, the competitors set about executing their job plan, taking round bar stock, steel plates and gear blanks to create a three-level structure which employed working gears and an operational pulley system.

Under the watchful eyes of competition judges, Michael successfully completed his construction over the three days, requiring him to machine and fit items to meet specifications, before assembling them into the final, functional product.

Michael’s gold win makes him eligible for consideration to join the Australian Skillaroos national team, to compete on the international stage in France next year.

As a third-year apprentice at QinetiQ Air Affairs, Michael works at the Nowra-based Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC).

AMC Manager Darren Bramley, said the entire Air Affairs team was proud of Michael’s achievement, and that his win serves as a testament to the incredible expertise of the wider AMC team:

After initially arriving at Air Affairs as a work experience student four years ago, Michael now works with state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities at AMC, contributing to the production and refinement of world-leading threat representation targets and training capabilities employed by Australian and Allied Defence Forces.

From remote-piloted targets including the Phoenix Jet UAT, to towed aerial targets like the LLAT-2, and additional training enablers such as the MTR-101 Reeling Machine and Airpod 101, QinetiQ Air Affairs’ AMC is a key enabler for critical training and threat representation capabilities.

As part of QinetiQ’s ongoing commitment to building technical workforce capability within Australia, we’re proud to invest in the ongoing development of apprentices like Michael who are actively contributing to Australia’s critical engineering needs.

We have a range of programs that are actively equipping the next generation of Australia’s engineering workforce, including:

  • Early Careers programs for apprentices, trainees and graduates to secure the future talent demands of Australia’s defence industry ecosystem;
  • Professional upskilling programs such as Test & Evaluation Sovereign Skills Program (TESSP) to grow Australia’s specialised, independent T&E workforce;
  • The ongoing operation of University of Melbourne’s accessible fabrication lab Creator Space, fostering skills development and industry-readiness through training, coaching and supervision of tertiary engineering students; and
  • Our sponsorship of a range of Indigenous training initiatives as outlined in our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, including the Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS) and the AFL SportsReady Indigenous Traineeship program.

We congratulate Michael on his incredible achievement, and wish him the very best as he awaits confirmation of selection to represent Australia in France in 2024.