Young “Skills Olympians” chasing glory at National Trade Comp

As the Rio 2016 Olympians wrap up their celebrations, Australia’s top apprentices, trainees and students are preparing to go for gold at Australia’s largest trades and skills competition in just a few short weeks.

These talented young people will join over 500 young men and women aged 16-24 years as they showcase their exceptional talent and compete at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne, all hoping to secure a gold medal and the coveted title of ‘National Champion’ in their respective skills. For those competing in the open categories, the stakes are even higher: Stand-out national medallists from these categories may be selected to represent Australia as a Skillaroo at the 44th WorldSkills Competition to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 2017.

The National Competition will be held at Melbourne Showgrounds from Thursday, 6 to Saturday, 8 October. Held every two years, this is the 18th the National Competition and is supported by the Victorian Government, which is investing heavily in training and TAFE in Victoria.

“The 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne is a great opportunity for Victorians of all ages to show off their high quality training and to go and see training in action. This Government is ensuring Victorians get the high quality training they need for the real jobs of today and tomorrow,” says Steven Herbert, Victorian Minister for Training and Skills.

The event will feature 60 skills competitions, an in-house career expo and a range of fun and interactive Try’aSkill activities. The competition will take over 25,000sqm of floor space – roughly the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground – and will use a staggering $10mil worth of materials and equipment including 8 tonnes of steel, 90kg of chocolate, 3,250 stems of flowers and foliage and over 7,500 bricks.

While only 26% of the competitors are female, some skills such as Retail Baking Bread and Vehicle Painting will be dominated by female competitors this year.

“The Australian athletes who have just returned from competing at Rio 2016 will be celebrated and be treated as national heroes for their wonderful successes, and rightly so. However when you compare the achievements of the extraordinary young men and women that compete at the WorldSkills Australia National Competition with the Rio 2016 athletes, the question has to be asked: Which of the two groups might have the greatest impact on Australia’s future economy?” said CEO, Brett Judd.

“The extraordinary young people that compete at the National Competition will come out the other side with enhanced technical ability but more importantly, they’ll be more confident in the choices they make and be armed with a range of leadership and life skills that will serve them well as they look to start their own businesses, employ workers, pay taxes and have a positive, lasting impact on our society.

“Opportunities like the National Competition are truly priceless for these young people and Australia as a whole. We look forward to seeing what they bring to the competition floor.”


All queries including interview opportunities and imagery requests can be directed to WorldSkills Australia on 03 9249 1000 or