Benalla's Larry Franklin has been named one of Victoria's top apprentices by World Skills Australia.
After taking out a silver medal in the regional competition he will now head off to Perth in April to represent the state in the Nationals.
Larry, who is working as an apprentice for Dosser Panels, said he was lost for words when he found out.
“I got the email and I was shocked,” Larry said.
“I read it and had to read it again to take it all in.
“Then I went out and showed my mum and said ‘read this'.
“She was lost for words, too, and I was thinking wow.
“So put it up on Facebook and had the other apprentice here messaged me to say congratulations, and everyone has been really happy for me.
“I haven’t had a chance to celebrate just yet.
“Not because of coronavirus, I'm just too busy.”
And the man making sure he always has something to do is Dosser Panels owner Jeff Kunkel.
“I probably work a little different to to other panel shops when it comes to my apprentices,” Jeff said.
“A lot of places, when they first employ an apprentice they will be sweeping floors and cleaning the bosses cars.
“For me that’s not good value. I get them straight to work, so they can start learning straight. away.
“And that also helps my business in that I have young blokes who can do a lot more than other apprentices.
“And it looks like that’s is enough to get noticed in trade school, and by World Skills.
“Now it looks like I'll have to give him some time off to go to Perth for the nationals.
“You never know, I might even go with him.”
Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE course coordinator Mark Ward said Larry was selected for the regional competition based on a range of criteria.
“Larry has been an outstanding apprentice over the last three years,” Mr Ward said.
“He’s selected on the competition criteria of course, but also an overview of his work.
“We tend to pick the better students to be in the running for this type of thing.
“Now to get ready for the Nationals we’ll start doing some training maybe in January or February to get him ready.
“At the Nationals he will be doing things like colour matching, and practical, general work he would do in his job day to day.
“And he'll be competing against other top apprentices in the country over the three days of the event.”
GOTAFE student skills and life adviser Callum Ross said the World Skills Australia National competition was run like an Olympic event.
“It is a biennial, the competition that is held over three days,” Mr Ross said.
“They have an opening and closing ceremony, and the individual events can be nail biting.”