History Timeline

  • Founded in 1981

    WorldSkills Australia, formerly known as the Work Skill Australia Foundation, was established in 1981 as part of the labour movement to endorse, promote and provide recognition for skills and trades, a mission which the organisation still seeks to uphold.

    How WorldSkills began in Australia

    WorldSkills Australia (WSA), formerly known as the Work Skill Australia Foundation, may never have got off the ground without the audacious vision of Tjerk Dusseldorp.

    Tjerk first saw the Skill Olympics in June 1981 in Atlanta in the United States, when it operated under the banner of the International Vocational Training Organisation (IVTO) with 15 member countries, mostly from Europe. Australia was not a member, Tjerk was on a fact finding mission for the Evatt Foundation at the time.

    Impressed by what he saw, and aware of the low status for trade skills in Australia, Tjerk threw a cocktail party for IVTO delegates and boldly announced that his country wanted to host the Youth Skill Olympics in 1988, Australia’s bicentennial year.

    Upon returning to Sydney, Tjerk embarked on a frenetic mission to canvass commercial sponsors, set up an office in 1982 and from a base of nothing, rushed to hold regional competitions across the country, culminating in a national competition to select Australia’s first team for Austria’s Youth Skill Olympics in 1983.

    WorldSkills started with the mission to challenge young people, their teachers, trainers and employers to achieve world class competency standards in all industries and to promote the status of vocational education and training across Australia, a mission which the organisation still seeks to uphold.

  • The first WorldSkills Australia Regional Competition

    The first WorldSkills Australia Regional Competition was held at the Bowral Memorial Hall in the Southern Highlands of NSW. This was followed by the medal presentations being held at the Moss Vale RSL.

  • The inaugural National Competition

    The inaugural WorldSkills Australia National Competition was held at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

  • First Australian Team

    WorldSkills Australia sends the first Australian Team to compete at 27th International Vocational Training Competition, Linz, Austria.

    Held at WIFI, Institute for Economic Promotion of the Economic Chamber, held from August 15th to 28th, 1983.

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    WorldSkills Australia sends the first Australian Team to compete at 27th International Vocational Training Competition, Linz, Austria.

    Held at WIFI, Institute for Economic Promotion of the Economic Chamber, held from August 15th to 28th, 1983.

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  • The 2nd WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Stadium in Brisbane, also known as the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, in Nathan, QLD.

  • First international gold

    The 28th International Vocational Training Competition took place at Matsushita Educational and Training Centre, Higasi – Yodogawa Vocational Training College and Kansai Skill Development Centre in Osaka, Japan, from October 10th to 27th 1985.

    Glenn Brasen from Northern Rivers in Queensland competed for Australia in the Bricklaying category and won Australia’s first Gold Medal.

  • The 28th International Vocational Training Competition

    Held in Osaka, Japan at Matsushita Educational and Training Centre, Higasi – Yodogawa Vocational Training College and the Kansai Skill Development Centre from October 10th to 27th 1985.

    Australia awarded six medals at the WorldSkills International Competition in Osaka, Japan

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    Held in Osaka, Japan at Matsushita Educational and Training Centre, Higasi – Yodogawa Vocational Training College and the Kansai Skill Development Centre from October 10th to 27th 1985.

    Australia awarded six medals at the WorldSkills International Competition in Osaka, Japan

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 5th

  • 1987 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Adelaide Showgrounds, Adelaide, South Australia, held from June 18th to 23rd 1987.

    To accommodate the number of competitors, there was two consecutive three day competitions held.

  • Skills shine at Rugby League Grand Final

    In order to promote the upcoming “Skill Olympics” to be held in Sydney in 1988, WorldSkills held a promotional event in conjunction with the Rugby League Grand Final on 27th September 1987.

    500 apprentices from TAFE Colleges and companies supportive of WorldSkills Australia were the stars of the pre-match entertainment at this year’s Rugby League Grand Final held at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    In the presence of the Prime minister, 40,000 people at the ground and the 5 million watching on television, they put together an exciting display of trades and industries.

    The centre-piece of all this, was a massive model of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which apprentices from HMAS NIRIMBA built in just 12 minutes. When it was completed, our 88’ Skill Olympics team made their entrance, marching onto the bridge to raise the Skill Olympics flag.

  • 18th National Taiwan Skills Competition

    As part of their preparation for the Skill Olympics, the Australian team travelled to Taipei in Taiwan to be guest competitors at their 18th National Skills Competition.

  • The 29th International Skill Olympics, Sydney, Australia

    WorldSkills Australia hosts first international event and competition. Held at Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre from February 7th to 24th, 1988. Australia received 12 medals at the WorldSkills International Competition in Sydney, Australia.

    The 2nd World Congress on Vocational Training was held in conjunction with the Skill Olympics.

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    WorldSkills Australia hosts first international event and competition. Held at Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre from February 7th to 24th, 1988. Australia received 12 medals at the WorldSkills International Competition in Sydney, Australia.

    The 2nd World Congress on Vocational Training was held in conjunction with the Skill Olympics.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 3rd

  • Perth hosts their first National Competition

    WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Perth, Western Australia held at the Burswood Superdome.

    Due to the increasing number of competitors, this was to be the last one roof National Competition to be held until 1999.

    Over the next decade the National Competitions were broken up into smaller groups running as stand alone or in conjunction with industry specific events.

  • 30th International Youth Skill Olympics

    Held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom from August 19th to September 4th, 1989.

    Australia was awarded 10 medals at the WorldSkills International Competition in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

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    Held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom from August 19th to September 4th, 1989.

    Australia was awarded 10 medals at the WorldSkills International Competition in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 3rd

  • The 31st International Vocational Training Olympics

    Held at the RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands from June 20th to July 6th, 1991.

    Australia was awarded six medals.

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    Held at the RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands from June 20th to July 6th, 1991.

    Australia was awarded six medals.

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    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 8th

  • 10th Anniversary

    WorldSkills Australia celebrates their 10th Anniversary in Sydney. All Skill Olympic competitors from 1983 to 1991 were invited to attend the celebrations.

  • The 32nd International Vocational Training Competition

    Held at the Taipei World Trade Centre and Sung-Shan Vocational School from July 19th to August 3rd, 1993.

    The Australian Team were awarded four medals.

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    Held at the Taipei World Trade Centre and Sung-Shan Vocational School from July 19th to August 3rd, 1993.

    The Australian Team were awarded four medals.

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    Bronze

    Ranking 10th

  • CLIP (Continuous Learning and Improvement Program)

    CLIP was further evidence of WorldSkills Australia commitment to developing the skills of our young Australians. CLIP is a Continuous Learning and Improvement Program that provides the competitor with a close support network of previous competitors, industry specialist and college teachers, to guide them onto WorldSkills success.

    Through Clip, competitors were able to learn what was expected of them in competitions and how to gain maximum marks. In this way, every competitor enjoyed the benefits of past experience, and was able to give their best performance on the day.

    CLIP was sponsored by the Dusseldorp Skills Forum.

  • Australian Training Award

    In November 1994 WorldSkills Australia was awarded the Australian National Training Authority’s inaugural Australian training award to ‘an organisation which has made an outstanding contribution to vocational education in Australia’

  • The 33rd Youth Skill Olympics

    Held at the Euroexpo Lyon, France from October 5th to 18th, 1995.

    Team Australia were awarded four medals at the International Competition in Lyon, France.

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    Held at the Euroexpo Lyon, France from October 5th to 18th, 1995.

    Team Australia were awarded four medals at the International Competition in Lyon, France.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 12th

  • Office Relocation

    WorldSkills office relocated from Sydney to Maitland.

  • The 34th International Youth Skill Olympics

    Held in St. Gallen, Switzerland at the OLMA Exhibition Halls from June 27th to July 10th, 1997.

    The Australian Team received a total of five medals.

    array(6) { ["date"]=> string(10) "27/06/1997" ["title"]=> string(43) "The 34th International Youth Skill Olympics" ["photo"]=> array(4) { [0]=> array(24) { ["ID"]=> int(8610) ["id"]=> int(8610) ["title"]=> string(18) "1997_international" ["filename"]=> string(22) "1997_international.jpg" ["filesize"]=> int(70743) ["url"]=> string(80) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1997_international.jpg" ["link"]=> string(75) "https://www.worldskills.org.au/about/history-timeline/1997_international-2/" ["alt"]=> string(0) "" ["author"]=> string(1) "1" ["description"]=> string(0) "" ["caption"]=> string(0) "" ["name"]=> string(20) "1997_international-2" ["status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["uploaded_to"]=> int(7752) ["date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-20 23:05:52" ["modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-20 23:06:29" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["mime_type"]=> string(10) "image/jpeg" ["type"]=> string(5) "image" ["subtype"]=> string(4) "jpeg" ["icon"]=> string(67) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-includes/images/media/default.png" ["width"]=> int(457) ["height"]=> int(307) ["sizes"]=> array(15) { ["thumbnail"]=> string(88) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1997_international-200x200.jpg" ["thumbnail-width"]=> int(200) ["thumbnail-height"]=> int(200) ["medium"]=> string(80) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1997_international.jpg" ["medium-width"]=> int(457) ["medium-height"]=> int(307) ["medium_large"]=> string(80) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1997_international.jpg" ["medium_large-width"]=> int(457) ["medium_large-height"]=> int(307) ["large"]=> string(80) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1997_international.jpg" ["large-width"]=> int(457) ["large-height"]=> int(307) ["carousel_small"]=> string(88) "https://worldskills-jaladesign.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1997_international-164x110.jpg" ["carousel_small-width"]=> int(164) ["carousel_small-height"]=> int(110) } } [1]=> array(24) { ["ID"]=> int(8700) ["id"]=> int(8700) ["title"]=> string(50) "1997 - 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    Held in St. Gallen, Switzerland at the OLMA Exhibition Halls from June 27th to July 10th, 1997.

    The Australian Team received a total of five medals.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 6th

  • Skills Across the World

    Skills Across the World was an International Skill Volunteers initiative from 1998 – 2004.

    The first Skills Across the World (SAW) project took place in the Makwe community, near the town of Gwanda in Zimbabwe Australia’s first WorldSkills International gold medallist, Glenn Brasen, led a team of five trade workers from around the world to construct a new amenities block, a classroom and an entire primary school equipped with desks and chairs.

    The main objective of the SAW project was to impart practical vocational skills to locals that could then be transferred onto other local communities and furthermore, future generations. SAW was a joint initiative with WorldSkills and Dusseldorp Skills Forum.

    Exert from ‘Skills Brigade News’ WorldSkills Whispers August 1988

    “The Makwe community warmly welcomed the first two team members to arrive in late March – Glenn Brasen and Grant Stewart, both former Skill Olympians from Australia, but it wasn’t until they decided to build a prototype of a bench and desk to show the village chief and the school principal that the purpose of their trip became clear to the community. This practical demonstration of carpentry skills (by a bricklayer and a plumber!) did more to galvanise community interest than any amount of talking on their part. The village chief asked if they would teach him carpentry skills, along with other men from the community, and happily this request coincided with the arrival of Aaron, a young carpenter and former Skill Olympian from New Zealand. Also, the team’s arrival has prompted a working group from the village to commence making the bricks needed to build the additional classrooms.”

  • Increased age limit

    This round of competition saw the age limit for all categories increase from 23 to 25 for competitions held in Australia

  • Skills Australia 99’

    Skills Australia 99’ – Bringing the National Competition back under one roof.

    The competition was held from the 26th to 28th May 1999.

    The first national Competition held under one roof in 10 years.

  • The 35th WorldSkills International Competition

    Held in Montreal, Canada at the Olympic Stadium from November 3rd to 17th, 1999.

    Australia was awarded four medals. Jaclyn Pope, Graphic Communication, becomes the first Australian female to win an international gold medal

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    Held in Montreal, Canada at the Olympic Stadium from November 3rd to 17th, 1999.

    Australia was awarded four medals. Jaclyn Pope, Graphic Communication, becomes the first Australian female to win an international gold medal

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    Gold

    Bronze

    Ranking 13th

  • BBM Skilled Futures Program

    Establishment of the BBM Youth Support and WorldSkills Australia Scholarship program

    The Scholarships, awarded biennially to National Competition gold medallists, help to enhance the career prospects of the recipients through both a development program offered by Mission Performance and international work experience.

    It is the aim of both organisations to provide young Australians with the opportunity of personal development through an international pathway.

  • WorldSkills Australia Advisory Group

    WAAG (WorldSkills Australia Advisory Group) 2000 to 2003

    WAAG was formed to provide a support mechanism for members of the international team during their preparation period. This group was made up of officials and ex competitors.

  • Launch of Try’aTrade

    The program objective was to introduce students to a variety of trades and jobs in a practical and engaging way.

    WorldSkills later adapted Croc Skills to what would be known as WorldSkills Try’aTrade. This program was later renamed to Try’aSkill to better reflect coverage across all skill areas.

  • 2001 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Adelaide Showgrounds during March 2001.

  • The 36th WorldSkills Competition

    Held in Seoul, Korea at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Centre from November 11th to 18th, 2001.

    The Australian Team were awarded six medals.

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    Held in Seoul, Korea at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Centre from November 11th to 18th, 2001.

    The Australian Team were awarded six medals.

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    Gold

    Silver

  • 2002 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Newcastle Showgrounds from 25th to 27th October 2002.

  • The 37th WorldSkills Competition

    Held in St. Gallen, Switzerland at OLMA Messen from June 18th to 25th, 2003.

    Team Australia received nine medals.

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    Held in St. Gallen, Switzerland at OLMA Messen from June 18th to 25th, 2003.

    Team Australia received nine medals.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 10th

  • 2004 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from May 28th to 30th, 2004.

  • 38th WorldSkills International Competition

    Held in Helsinki, Finland at the Helsinki Fair Centre from May 26th to 29th, 2005.

    The Australian team were awarded with nine medals.

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    Held in Helsinki, Finland at the Helsinki Fair Centre from May 26th to 29th, 2005.

    The Australian team were awarded with nine medals.

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    Gold

    Bronze

    Ranking 9th

  • Establishment of the Ern MacDonald Fellowship

    In memory of Ern MacDonald, the great industrial relations visionary and former Director of WorldSkills Australia and Dusseldorp Skills Forum

    The Fellowship is a project partnership between WorldSkills Australia, Dusseldorp Skills Forum and the MacDonald family.

  • Office Relocation

    The WorldSkills Australia National office moved to Melbourne.

  • 2006 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 5th to 7th, 2006.

    WorldSkills Australia celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary with a Gala Dinner 8th May 2006.

  • Australia hosts the International General Assembly

    WorldSkills Australia hosts the International General Assembly consisting of the Leaders Forum and Youth Forum.

    The biennial Forum brought together leading educationalists from 43 nations as well as youth representatives, to discuss and explore international training trends, policies and the future direction of the organisation. Countries in attendance included China, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Indonesia.

    WorldSkills General Assembly & Leaders Forum 6th to 11th May. Held the same time as the Nationals.

  • Establishment of the ‘Skillaroos’

    “The Skillaroos branding came about because we wanted to embrace the principals of excellence in skills and to clearly identity ourselves as Australians. By putting the most powerful word – ‘skill’ with the most powerful icon of Australia – the Kangaroo, together we came up with the Skillaroos” – Bob Puffet, former Chair of WorldSkills Australia

    The Skillaroos branding was born with input of the minds of many proud “WorldSkillers” in Australia.

  • 39th WorldSkills International Competition

    Held at Numazu-shi in Shizuoka, Japan from 14th to the 21st, 2007.

    The 2007 Team Australia Skillaroos received a total of five medals.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 5th

  • 2008 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC) in Darling Harbour from July 11th to 13th, 2008.

    We celebrated the 20th anniversary of Skill Olympics in Australia during the competition.

  • 40th WorldSkills International Competition

    Held at Stampede Park in Calgary, Canada from September 1st to 7th, 2009.

    The 2009 Team Australia Skillaroos were awarded 12 medals in total.

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    Held at Stampede Park in Calgary, Canada from September 1st to 7th, 2009.

    The 2009 Team Australia Skillaroos were awarded 12 medals in total.

    " ["comp_info"]=> array(5) { ["gold"]=> string(1) "2" ["silver"]=> string(1) "5" ["bronze"]=> string(1) "5" ["ranking"]=> string(3) "5th" ["comp_year"]=> object(WP_Term)#11029 (10) { ["term_id"]=> int(20) ["name"]=> string(7) "Calgary" ["slug"]=> string(14) "calgary-canada" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(20) ["taxonomy"]=> string(12) "competitions" ["description"]=> string(0) "" ["parent"]=> int(0) ["count"]=> int(26) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } }

    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 5th

  • Largest ever Try’aTrade event

    WorldSkills Australia holds largest ever Try’aTrade event to date at the 22nd Australian Scout Jamboree

    Held at Cataract Scout Park in New South Wales from January 4th to 14th, 2010.

    The 2010 Scout Jamboree hosted over 10,000 scouts from all across Australia. As part of the 10 day event, scouts participated in a variety of skill displays including the construction of a picnic and barbeque area for future use by the Australian Scouting Movement.

  • 2010 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 7th to 9th, 2010.

  • Inaugural WorldSkills Australia Youth Forum

    Held at the Adelaide showgrounds from October 21st to 24th, 2010.

    Over the two days, 25 Youth Forum delegates, representing a broad range of skill and regional backgrounds, shared and debated ideas, built friendships and workshopped suggestions.

    At the culmination of the two days, the attendees presented their ideas for the future of WSA – their vision, practical ideas and ways to implement them – before an audience of WSA’s main regional volunteers, State and Territory Managers and WSA Board Members.

  • Inaugural Global Skills Challenge

    Held at TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute, Wollongong Campus from July 5th to 8th, 2010.

    WorldSkills Australia hosted over 100 international guests from 11 countries at the first Global Skills Challenge.

    The Challenge was established to aid the preparation of the Australian Skillaroos and other international competitors selected to compete in the 2011 WorldSkills International Competition, in London.

  • 41st WorldSkills International Competition

    Held at ExCeL London from October 5th to 8th, 2011.

    The 2011 Team Australia Skillaroos received 10 medals.

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    Held at ExCeL London from October 5th to 8th, 2011.

    The 2011 Team Australia Skillaroos received 10 medals.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

  • 2012 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held in Sydney from 30th August – 1st September.

  • 42nd WorldSkills International Competition

    Held at the Leipziger Messe in Leipzig, Germany from 2 to 7 July, 2013

    The 2013 Team Australia Skillaroos received 4 medals.

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    Held at the Leipziger Messe in Leipzig, Germany from 2 to 7 July, 2013

    The 2013 Team Australia Skillaroos received 4 medals.

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    Gold

    Silver

    Bronze

  • 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    The 2014 National Competition returned to Perth from the 18th to 20th September for the first time since 1989

  • Inaugural WorldSkills Oceania Competition

    WorldSkills Australia sends 28 competitors to Hamilton, New Zealand, to compete in the inaugural WorldSkills Oceania Competition.

    Held at the Waikato Institute of Technology Hamilton, New Zealand from 13th -17th April.

  • 43rd WorldSkills International Competition

    Held at Anhembi Parque, São Paulo, Brazil from 11 to 16 August, 2015.

    The 2015 Team Australia Skillaroos received 5 medals.

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    Held at Anhembi Parque, São Paulo, Brazil from 11 to 16 August, 2015.

    The 2015 Team Australia Skillaroos received 5 medals.

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    Silver

    Bronze

  • 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition

    Held in Melbourne from the 6th to 8th October

  • Introduction of Life Members

    At the 2016 Nationals Championships Closing Ceremony, WorldSkills Australia introduced the Life Member PIN.

    The Life Member Pin recognises the outstanding contribution to WorldSkills Australia of an individual, both in terms of continuous service and importantly, the positive and sustainable impact a person has had on the entire WorldSkills Australia community.

    The pin was produced by Darren May of Pallion, National Chief Judge and International Chief Expert for Jewellery. The medallion is made from Argentium, a specialty metal only available through our Gold Partner Pallion.

    The inaugural 20 recipients of the Life Member Pin demonstrated a commitment to WorldSkills Australia that ensures that the future of WorldSkills Australia is bright and prosperous.

    2016 WorldSkills Australia Life Member Pin Recipients

    Tjerk Dusseldorp

    Bob Puffet

    Alan Grasset

    Steve Hornery

    Dave Arnold

    Noel Munkman

    John Shiel

    Hilton Jones

    Ivan Campbell

    Devin Flor

    Maryka Gibson

    Ruth Browne

    Kerrie Stevens

    Brian Johnson

    Trevor Schwenke

    Tony Wright

    John Anderson

    John Anderson

    Kay Sharpe

    Geoff Ball

    Barbara Hawkins

     

  • 44th WorldSkills International Competition

    Held in Abu Dhabi, UAE at ADNEC from 15 to 18 October, 2017.

    The 2017 Team Australia Skillaroos received 4 medals.

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    Held in Abu Dhabi, UAE at ADNEC from 15 to 18 October, 2017.

    The 2017 Team Australia Skillaroos received 4 medals.

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    A 18-strong team of Skillaroos, including a record number of female competitors, are training hard to represent Australia to their full ability in their different skills and trades in Abu Dhabi.

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    Silver

    Bronze

    Ranking 10th