Ern MacDonald Fellowship

The Ern MacDonald Fellowship, in memory of a great industrial relations visionary, launches the careers of talented young tradespeople and is supported by project partners, the MacDonald family, Dusseldorp Forum and WorldSkills Australia.

The Fellowship is open to those who competed in the most immediate past WorldSkills Australia National competition and ranked either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a category from within the Building and Construction industry as defined by WorldSkills Australia. The Fellowship runs every two years and past recipients are: Ben Cooper – Cabinetmaking 2012, Tyson Knight – Plumbing 2010, John Rudge – Electrical Installation 2008 & Anthony Micari – Wall & Floor Tiling 2006.

About Ern MacDonald

To Ern MacDonald, who has been credited with changing the face of labour relations in the Australian construction industry, nothing was more important than recognising and encouraging the development of skills in young people. It is fitting that this fellowship, established in his memory, assists careers of talented young tradespeople.

During more than four decades of work with Civil & Civic, the construction arm of Lend Lease, Ern MacDonald, alongside his mentor, Lend Lease Chairman Dick Dusseldorp, pioneered the revamp of work and management practices in the Australian construction industry. His commitment to treating working people with respect and dignity, to working with the unions to find common ground, and to sharing the benefits that flowed from that across the whole company by way of profit sharing and improved wages and conditions of work was widely recognised.

Ern MacDonald’s passionate commitment to skills development was a driving force in the creation of Group Apprenticeship Schemes through the ACTU-Lend Lease Foundation of which he was a foundation trustee. He was also a trustee of both the Dusseldorp Skills Forum and WorldSkills Australia. Which brings the story full circle.

Want to know more? Click below to watch interviews with Kate MacDonald and the 2012 Finalists.

2012 Fellowship

Ben Cooper, Cabinetmaking, is the winner of the 2012 Ern MacDonald Fellowship. Ben will apply the Fellowship to develop the skills he needs to begin setting up his own small business focussing on designing and producing quality sustainable, fine furniture with a strong emphasis on the use of materials that can be sourced from within Australia.

Ben Cooper was placed 5th in Cabinetmaking at the 2011 WorldSkills International Competition, London.

2010 Fellowship

The 2010 winner of the Ern MacDonald Fellowship was Mr Tyson Knight.

Tyson was one of 26 young Australians who competed at the World Skills International Competition in Calgary, Canada in September 2009 and one of 7 members of the Australian building and construction team. Tyson was awarded a Silver medal in Plumbing & Heating at the International Competition.

Tyson is applying the Ern MacDonald Fellowship to successfully start and manage his own, and his region’s first,  ‘Green’ plumbing company with the intention of researching, promoting & installing new and innovative materials, products and practices relevant to the plumbing industry.

2008 Fellowship

Winner of the 2008 Fellowship was John Rudge.

John, an Electrical Supervisor with AJS electrical, will use the Fellowship to design and construct an eco friendly alternative power supply for a School or Medical Centre located on the island of Kiribati in the Central Pacific. The construction of this generator will reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuel, provide a more reliable low cost, low maintenance power source as well as providing a model for similar power plants in related locations. He hopes to complete the project by February 2009.

John was awarded a silver medal in Trade 18 (Electrical Installation) at the 39th International WorldSkills Competition in Shizuka, Japan. Involved in WorldSkills for more than four years, he has been the recipient of a variety of other WorldSkills awards, including winning the Australian Electrical Installation System National Competition in 2006.

An outstanding role model for young tradespeople, John is more than highly deserving of the Ern MacDonald fellowship.

2006 Fellowship

Winner of the 2006 Fellowship was Anthony Micari.

Anthony has been announced the recipient of the inaugural Ern MacDonald Fellowship. It will represent another achievement in a remarkable year for this 21-year-old tiler who was awarded a Medallion of Excellence at the International WorldSkills competition in Helsinki in 2005.

Futher Information

Michelle Hardy
Operations Coordinator
WorldSkills Australia
Ph: 03 9249 1000