Pingaring teenager Lewis Garard has received a gold medal at the WA WorldSkills regional competition after demonstrating his automotive skills in front of a panel of judges. The Year 11 Hale School student was raised on a farm in Pingaring. While completing his Certificate II in Automotive at TAFE, his high school career teacher encouraged him to sign up for the biennial WA WorldSkills regional competition. Lewis competed in the automotive category while his school peer Daniel Jonasson took part in the bricklaying section held at the Perth Convention Centre on August 25. Both Hale School students were the first from their school to take part in the competition and win gold medals for their respective categories. Lewis was tested on five automotive components; electrical systems, cooling systems, suspension, brakes and tyres. He was judged by experts from a range of employers and educational institutions before being awarded the gold medal for the automotive category. “You have a couple of judges who ask you what’s wrong and you have to figure it out,” Lewis said. The 17-year-old grew up with his father and “pop” who worked on cars and engines around the farm. “No one in my family is really a qualified mechanic but my pop used to be a very good mechanic and that passed down to my dad and now on to me,” Lewis said. “I’ve just observed everything my dad has done and taken it upon myself to get a bit better and learn a bit more. “I’ve been at boarding school in Perth, so (working on cars) is a good way to get away from the books and get into a bit of mechanics.” Hale School vocational education and training co-ordinator Toby Wright said Lewis and Daniel had made school history by winning the gold medals. “This means that they may be considered to represent WA at the WorldSkills Australian National Competition to be held in Melbourne next June,” he said. Lewis will receive his gold medal at a presentation ceremony in Perth on November 25.