Josh & Kevin, whilst on opposite sides of the country, have been training the last 5 months to achieve their dream of becoming the 2019 Australian Skillaroo, for Cabinetmaking. Both competed at the 2018 National Championships, in Sydney – where they placed 1st and 2nd respectively with less than 1.5 marks dividing the two. It was due to the close nature of the result that both were invited to apply for the 2018/19 Skills Squad, which they accepted and began training with their mentors.
On 30th January, both travelled to Port Adelaide, where they would spend the next four days competing in a ‘skill off’ to determine who would progress to the Global Skills Challenge, the final selection process for the 2019 Australian Skillaroos. WorldSkills Australia was fortunate to have Jason Hindes, former Chief Expert for Cabinetmaking at the WorldSkills International Competition undertake the role of Chief Judge for this competition. Jason opened his workshop at his local business for the entire four-day skill off, where he provided materials and expert tips and feedback to the eager cabinetmakers he was mentoring. Expert Mentor, John Shiel also attended the skill off. John’s experience and knowledge proved to be a valuable asset as a mentor to both Josh and Kevin. Ryan Grieger 2017 Silver medallist in Carpentry also joined the team to provide insight into the nature of competing at an international level.
After arriving in Adelaide, both Kevin and Josh attended a familiarisation session, on the competition module and the workspace area. They were lucky enough, to finish the day with a relaxing sail around the coast of Adelaide, that Jason, a well-versed seaman organised. It was a great way to calm the nerves and clear their minds.
The next two days saw a tough start to the competition, with both feeling the pressure and the mutual respect of who they were up against. For Josh, he was keen to retain the first place position he achieved at the National Championships, and for Kevin, it meant striving for number one.
On the third and final day of competition, the competitors dug deep and submitted their projects for judging. Joshua Boon of Tasmania was determined the winner and will be continuing on his journey with the Skills Squad; preparing for the next hurdle in his international campaign the Global Skills Challenge.
Josh and Kevin both acknowledged it was beneficial to be able to see how each other had developed as cabinetmakers since the National Championships, it was also a chance to share knowledge from their respective mentors and trainers. With only one continuing on their Skills Squad journey, John Shiel thanked both young men for their commitment to the experience and trade and highlighted that both Kevin and Josh had “demonstrated an extremely high level of professionalism and skill” throughout their time in Adelaide. Team Leader, Dave O’Donnell suggests that the Showdown in SA used to refer to an Aussie Rules, football game – however, now it might be remembered as the great cabinetmaking skill-off!
For Josh, this experience has been one to help him fully grasp the level of quality required at an international level and another step towards WorldSkills International.
WorldSkills Australia would like to thank both Josh and Kevin, for their dedication and passion to their WorldSkills journey, and also acknowledge the support and time given from their respective Training Managers, Jai Maluga and Ashlee Scinocco, alongside their local support networks – TasTAFE, South Regional TAFE, Glen Holst Furniture, UCI Joinery, Nick Johnston (2017 Skillaroo), Joe Estermann, Fiona Johnston (Western Australia State Manager) and Jacqui Maclaine (Tasmania State Manager).