Skillaroos journey so far

On 4 August, the Skillaroos attended a Brazilian-themed Farewell Function held at Sydney TAFE in Ultimo. Senator the Hon. Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Education and Training and the Hon. John Barilaro, Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business in NSW, addressed the significance of trades and skills training in our community.

“The importance of having a fulfilling career cannot be underestimated. With around three million Australians participating in vocational education annually, and many moving into the workforce, it is clearly a sector well regarded by Australians” Senator Ryan said during his address.

The Senator highlighted that quality vocational education and training is crucial to Australia’s future and the Government encourages students to follow the same path as the Skillaroos.

It was with great privilege that both Senator Ryan and Minister Barilaro presented an Australian flag to each Skillaroo which was followed by a humorous motivational speech from Paralympic swimmer Sam Bramham. Following the official proceedings the team’s family and friends wished them good luck and farewell for their long journey ahead.

After 20 hours of flying the Skillaroos finally arrived safely in São Paulo. The next morning after some much-needed rest, the team ventured out into São Paulo to enjoy some of the city’s life, including a picnic in one of the major urban parks, Ibirapuera Park. Skillaroos Emma Hillier, Samantha Johnson and Jessica Peters were happy to provide us with a bit of commentary of the day. Check out the photos from Ibirapuera Park here.

The following day, the Skillaroos were honoured to attend a casual reception held by the Australian Embassy in São Paulo. There they were officially welcomed to the city by Patricia Monteiro (Education Manager), Sheila Lunter (Consul and Trade Commissioner in São Paulo, Brazil) and Quinton Devlin (Deputy Ambassador of the Australian Embassy of Brasilia). Mr Devlin spoke highly of the young team and the importance of vocational training in a challenging socio-economic environment.

On Saturday the Skillaroos explored one of the city’s largest shopping centres for some retail therapy. The following day the team travelled to Hotel Estancia Atibainha, a country-side ranch, for the competitor’s excursion where they met their fellow competitors from over 60 countries.

“I got the chance to meet competitors from Italy, Belarus, Germany, Austria, Korea and Brazil from my skill area but it was also great to meet other competitors and collect pins from Italy, Russia and Norway” said Samantha Johnson, representing Restaurant Service from TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute, Ryde Campus. Check out the photos from the competitor’s excursion here.

After a day of fun and activities, the team’s emotions changed to excitement and nervousness as they entered the Anhembi Park for Familiarisation. Throughout the day the Skillaroos had the chance to read through their test projects for the first time, familiarise themselves with the equipment and consult their experts and judges with any questions that they may have.

Sam Spong our Bricklaying Skillaroo from TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute, Wollongong Campus shared his thoughts on the challenges that lie ahead of him. “The nerves have started to kick in. There has been a lot of new things that I’ve learnt today. The bricks are a lot different and the muds a lot different”. The Skillaroos will have a day to reflect, strategise and plan to tackle any challenges that they may face over the duration of the competition.

Tomorrow the Skillaroos will visit EE Carlos Maximiliano Pereira dos Santos, a local school as part of the WorldSkills One School One Country programme. The school students, who the team have written letters to, will participate in different activities for the purpose of sharing their respective cultures and learning experiences. Stay tuned to read more about the One School One Country programme.