Certificate III in Landscape Construction
Proud to be a perfectionist
Is it a drawback to be too much of a perfectionist? You’d have to say no, considering where that particular trait has got Alex Halls, a fourth-year apprentice landscaper at Suburban Landscapes in Queanbeyan NSW. “I’d often find myself in trouble at work for being too much of a perfectionist for going back to fix something that was very slightly out that no-one would notice,” said Alex, “but it really came in handy when we had the eagle eyes of the judges on us at WorldSkills.”
With a Gold Medal in landscape construction at the WorldSkills 2016 National Competition to his credit, being a perfectionist has certainly served Alex well. “I’m sure it’s what helped me and my team partner, Dougal King, win out against some very stiff competition,” said Alex.
Alex’s road to WorldSkills began with his decision to do an apprenticeship in landscape construction. After two work experience stints doing landscaping in Years 10 and 11, he knew what he wanted to do, and it wasn’t finishing school.
“I had planned to go to University but my heart just wasn’t in it. I had no desire, and the further I got along in college the more I knew it wasn’t for me. It was hard making that decision though, because there was so much focus on needing to get a good ATAR to get a good job. My experience, and that of so many others, has shown that that’s just not the case.”
Alex jumped at the chance of an apprenticeship when it was offered to him, and has never looked back. “I’m doing something I love and I am eternally grateful to my apprenticeship for getting me to WorldSkills,” he said. “Winning the Gold Medal at the nationals was the proudest day of my life. Nothing can beat that except for winning the international competition.”
To try and make that happen, Alex and Dougal are putting in a lot of time practicing and learning new techniques that will make them quicker and more efficient. Final team selection for the competition in Abu Dhabi in October 2017 will be made after the Global Skills Challenge in July.
“Australia has never won the landscaping prize,” said Alex, “it would be such a huge honour to try and bring back gold for our country. In my opinion everyone should give WorldSkills a go. It’s one of the greatest life experiences I’ve ever had.”
Alex also thinks everyone should give an apprenticeship a go, ‘there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain’. “You can pick any trade you want, you’ll be paid while you learn and if you don’t like it you can change to something else without having a massive HECS bill. What you will have is real-life experience and mastery of the skill of your choice. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Looking to the future, Alex aims to own his own business managing a team of other like-minded, passionate professionals. “I want to learn something new every day and try to better myself every day in order to be the best I can be. That probably sounds like a perfectionist talking, doesn’t it,” he laughed, “but I don’t think I need to make any apologies for that!”