Untapped opportunities: It’s time to dispel the myths behind specialised trades

WorldSkills Australia’s dedicated training providers and students are banning together to bring unique trades to the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne from 6-8 October.

“Visual merchandising suits about 10 possible careers: Retail chains to department stores, and even banks are using visual merchandisers nowadays,” says Ron Watkins, visual merchandising instructor at Kangan Institute. “The interesting thing is that visual merchandising is an entirely global skill.  Opportunities in Asia are opening up, where retail is manic.”

At the National Competition, visitors will see students from Kangan Institute, RMIT, Swinburne and TAFE NSW Sydney Institute demonstrating visual merchandising, by designing, developing and creating a display using a design brief provided just hours before work begins.

“The visual merchandising students will be provided with two mystery boxes,” says Watkins. “Visually, the construction of these displays is quite interesting. There’s always a bit of action going on even when they’re working in the stores – we find that people often stop and watch. They will follow a realistic timetable, but will be a challenge at the same time.”

Auto and marine trimming is another exciting demonstration available for visitors to view at the National Competition. Auto and marine trimmers are the “interior designers” of the vehicle world, responsible for creating, installing and repairing the seats, upholstery, roof and door linings, interior trim and floor coverings of vehicles. Students from Holmesglen Institute will demonstrate how to recover a seat or manufacturing a cover for either a car or boat.

By bringing these unique skills to the National Competition, WorldSkills Australia hopes to raise awareness of these professions and establish them as Regional Competitions in the next cycle beginning in 2017.  “WorldSkills Australia have continued to look at emerging skills and give students a platform to showcase their talent,” says WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd.