Campbelltown tradie tops international competition

Maxine Colligan
Maxine Colligan

Maxine Colligan is feeling on top of the world.

The talented Campbelltown tradie has taken out the gold medal for car painting at the Global Skills Challenge.

Ms Colligan was one of just 19 young Australians who won the right to compete against international competitors from 16 countries including the United Kingdom, China, Russia and Brazil.

The 21-year-old said she was surprised by the win.

"I honestly can't believe it - it feels surreal," Ms Colligan said.

"But our Australian team leaders reassured us that it is no accident that we made the team - that all of our work up to this point led us here, so that made me feel a bit better."

The last seven months of training paid off for Ms Colligan and she will now become a Skillaroo.

The Skillaroos are an elite team of young Australian apprentices and trainees who will represent Australia at the WorldSkills International Championships in Kazan, Russia in August.

"We will get a lot of training over the next few months before we go," she said.

"It's very exciting - especially because this will also be my first time going overseas so I am a little nervous as well."

Ms Colligan's car painting skills also saw her take out a silver medal at the 2018 WorldSkills National Championships.

She said a friend recommended the trade to her after she had finished high school.

"I didn't really know what I wanted to do so a friend recommended that I take a course and I really enjoyed the spray painting part," Ms Colligan said.

"So I went out and got myself an apprenticeship and I haven't looked back.

"I want to give the women in our trade a good name - we are just as skilled and talented as the boys, if not better."

Ms Colligan said her employer RPM Milperra had been supportive of her journey.

"They have given me a lot of time off for training and to compete," she said.

"I am really grateful, because without their support I wouldn't be where I am."

Ms Colligan's journey to the Global Skills Challenge has also been supported by car manufacturer, Holden.

''Holden is extremely proud to support talented apprentices such as Maxine through her WorldSkills journey and we can't wait to introduce her to Holden's design team and advanced vehicle engineering teams at our head office in Port Melbourne," a Holden spokesman said.