At the halfway mark!

The WorldSkills Oceania Competition is well underway in Hamilton, New Zealand where the Skills Squad are performing extremely well and bringing the Australian spirit to its neighbouring country.

Day one saw 102 competitors pour out of buses onto Wintec Institute of Technology – Rotokaurui Campus to kick off on their projects. Most competitors used day one as preparation for the next three days of competition by planning their work carefully to ensure their projects take shape how they envisioned. This was particularly seen in competition categories such as Patisserie and Confectionary, Cabinetmaking and Wall & Floor Tiling.

For Adele Di Bella, representing Patisserie and Confectionary, mise en place is the most critical stage of her competition project. “I started on my marzipan which is what’s important for today because that is one of my products that has to be presented,” Adele explains.

Adele’s sugary creations will follow a theme of the Pacific Ocean throughout using different decoration techniques such as marzipan modelling to form hand moulded sea creatures.

“It involves a lot of skill and time because if you rush the product it won’t look good in the end because you need to make two of the same items that weigh less than 80 grams, that’s how you get marked”. Adele explains that she uses special marzipan tools to create her sea creatures but her hands are her most important tools to create the different shapes and sizes of the animals out of the Play-Doh like texture.

Over at the Trades Workshops hub, Troy Everett, 2015 Skills Squad Training Manager & International Chief Expert, led a crew of three bricklaying competitors from Australia, India and China. We caught up with Troy to see how our Bricklayer, Sam Spong, is performing against the international competitors. Check out what Troy had to say by visiting our Competitor Catch ups on YouTube.

As day one drew to a close, the exhausted Skills Squad jumped back on the bus for an early nights rest.

Day two saw the Skills Squad ready to go for another day of competition. Stacey Romanowski, representing Beauty Therapy from Sydney West Region, began her day by performing facials including galvanic, eye and brow treatments.

“Stacey had a little bit of a shaky start in the beginning, but she eased into the day. Today she’s really relaxed, more into it, better focused so I think she’ll do really well in the next couple of days,” said Christine Churchill, 2015 Skills Squad Training Manager, about her competitor.

The Skills Squad are now halfway through the WorldSkills Oceania Competition and Dave O’Donnell, Skills Squad Team Leader, explains that it certainly hasn’t been an easy fight.

“Always on day two competitors have to consolidate, whether they’ve had a bad start and they need to get that behind them or whether they’ve had a good start, work on complacency and shift their focus into the second day”.

Dave continues to describe the challenges the team have faced over the first two days. “Certainly a few people made errors and felt some pressure and perhaps some uncertainty with new equipment, different materials perhaps not being fully prepared for the scale they had to look at”. Dave says “the shift has to be now, learn what we can from the first half of this and shift their focus into moving day, the third and fourth day competition, so that’s our task”.

Check out some of the photo highlights of the Skills Squad in action from Day 2.