Regional winners prepare for Australia’s ultimate skills challenge

For over 3,600 young hopefuls across the country, 2015 was the year that aspiration turned into opportunity as they took a chance to compete at the WorldSkills Australia Regional Competitions. Whether they were encouraged by their lecturer or followed in a family members’ footsteps, these young apprentices, trainees and students discovered their potential and champions were made.

Many regions were impressed with the calibre of this year’s regional competitors, including VIC State Manager, Mick Prato. “The standard of the regional competitors was very high this year,” he says. “This made it very tough for the regional committees to select their national teams.”

Involvement with WorldSkills Australia often extends far beyond the challenge of competition, as evidenced by some familiar faces switching roles from competitor to judge during this year’s competition cycle. International bronze medallist Dylan Di Martino was one of several 2015 Skillaroos that enjoyed stepping into the judging role, recently hosting the Melbourne Region’s competition in Plumbing. He recently told us that switching roles was an unexpected challenge. “It’s funny: I sort of found myself still in the zone of a competitor. I wanted to jump in there and show the competitors what to do as I watched the competition, but all I could do is sit back and watch.”

Now, the real work begins for over 500 young Regional Champions from all corners of Australia. They will set their sights on the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne, dedicating months of time and energy training for their shot at glory.

Several regions are bringing their largest teams ever to the National Competition. WA State Manager, Fiona Johnson says, “After a very busy regional year with a record number of competitions, we are really looking forward to bringing the five regions of the west coast to the National Competition. We are particularly excited to have every region represented at both VETiS and Open levels this year and can’t wait for the ‘best from the west’ to pitch their skills against their peers!”

“With the WorldSkills Australia cycle of competitions moving from a successful round of Regional Competitions in 2015 to the 2016 National Competition, we look forward to welcoming the best of the best to compete in what will be this country’s largest display of trade and skills talent,” says WorldSkills Australia CEO, Mark Callaghan.

“While there has been a lot of negativity around the VET sector recently, the National Competition – thanks to the tremendous support of the Victorian Government – will showcase the world of first-class career opportunities that exist via a VET pathway and serve as inspiration for the thousands of school children attending the competition, thereby ensuring Australia develops the skills required to remain globally competitive.”