Australia’s best young tradespeople gearing up for their shot at greatness at Australia’s ultimate skills showdown

In eight short months, the next generation of apprentices, trainees and students will face the ultimate challenge as they compete against the nation’s best at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne.

Over 500 competitors from across the country will converge on Melbourne Showgrounds from Thursday, 6 to Saturday, 8 October for their chance to secure the coveted title of ‘National Champion’ in over 50 skill categories.

Among them is Melinda Lethbridge – an apprentice CNC machine setter / programmer from Croydon, VIC. Melinda earned her spot at the National Competition after securing a gold medal in Turning at the 2015 WorldSkills Australia Regional Competition. The 23 year old fitness buff has already gathered an impressive collection of awards including being named Australian Apprentice of the Year at the 2014 Australian Training Awards. Now, she has her sights set on the National Competition.

“It’s a huge honour to represent my region in the National Competition,” says Melinda. “I hope to do everyone who is supporting me in this journey proud by training hard, leaving no stone unturned in my preparation and taking all of my experience to the competition.”

Meanwhile, apprentice refrigeration technician Jonathon Sinclair from Greenwith, SA, is hoping to be named the first National Champion of 2016 when he competes at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Refrigeration Competition, Melbourne on 17-19 May. A student at TAFE SA, refrigeration is a family affair for Jonathon: He followed his two older brothers into the industry after high school. “I learn a lot working every day in the field on different refrigeration and air conditioning equipment,” says Jonathon. “It keeps me up to date with the skills I need.”

WorldSkills Australia Chair Brian Wexham commented, “Opportunities like the National Competition are vital to ensuring that Australians keep up with the demands of modern industry. Employers are increasingly seeking highly-skilled workers with the ability to be flexible, responsive and adaptable to the requirements of their professions and technology. Vocational education and training provides young people with practical, hands-on knowledge to meet these demands.

“With a wide range of competitions, skills demonstrations and WorldSkills Australia’s popular Try’aSkill events on show, the National Competition will highlight the career opportunities available through Vocational Education and Training into stunning visual examples to inspire new generations of the Australian workforce.”

For the young hopefuls gearing up to compete, this is an opportunity to reach their potential and achieve greatness.

“I feel very proud that all the hard work I have put in over the four years of my apprenticeship is finally paying off,” says Jonathon. “With the right training and preparation from the people I work with and the lecturers at TAFE, I think I’ll be able to achieve anything.”


For more information about the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne, visit:

All queries including competition statistics, interview opportunities and imagery can be directed to WorldSkills Australia Communications & PR Coordinator, Devon LaSalle on 03 9249 1000 or