WorldSkills Australia strengthens bonds and educational ties in Vietnam

WorldSkills Australia is in Vietnam this week to celebrate Australian Skills Week along with the National Careers Institute organised by both the Australian Government and the Vietnamese Government.

We brought two of the 2019 Skillaroos  – Maxine Colligan and Cristopher Matkowski – to showcase their excellence in Vehicle Painting and Commercial Cookery respectively to local students and industry. The National Careers Institute also invited some of their Australian VET Alumni members showcasing Graphic Design and Automotive Mechanical Technology.

Joining us on the adventure are a few of our proud industry partners: Learning Vault; Tradiebot Industries; and Lincoln Electric. This journey wouldn’t be possible without their support.

We have a big week of events, demonstrations and destinations planned for Team Australia, and it all started on our arrival into Vietnam on Monday, where Cristopher Matkowski ran a cooking demonstration in front of hundreds of students at the Hanoi College of Tourism. Cristopher made a delicious main dish and an impressive canapé, and we invited the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Ms Robyn Mudie and a talented local student to replicate the canapé.

That evening, we launched the Australian Skills Week. To celebrate the strategic collaboration between Australia and Vietnam in vocational education and training, the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Ms Robyn Mudie, invited the Australian Delegation to attend a reception at her Residence where the Skillaroos presented her with a framed Gold WorldSkills Medal as a gift.

At the Hanoi College of High Technology on Tuesday, our team did a skills demonstration with Odin Lowsley, Tash Fee and Maxine Colligan sharing their skills in graphic design, automotive mechanical technology, virtual welding and spray painting, this was supported by Lincoln Electric; and Tradiebot Industries. The Vietnamese students showcased mechatronics, industrial electronics, graphic design and beauty. More than 200 students participated in Try’ASkill activities and were extremely engaged – with VR technology the big hit!

Tuesday afternoon saw us visit the KOTO Training Centre. Cristopher held a cooking demonstration for 20 KOTO students and showed them how to make an Australian Pavlova and sausage roll. It was a life-changing experience for Cristopher as even though he’s still a student, he took the reigns and guided the students through the experience.

The story of KOTO is an inspiring one. KOTO stands for ‘Know One, Teach One’. It’s based on the philosophy that learning should be passed on, and knowledge is meant to be shared. This is the essential teaching of KOTO’s Vietnamese-Australian founder, Jimmy Pham.

More than 16 years ago, Mr Jimmy opened a hospitality training centre in Hanoi, giving at-risk and disadvantaged youth the opportunity to learn and thrive in their lives.​ KOTO’s purpose is to end the cycle of poverty by empowering and helping our targeted youth to forge a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.  As a social enterprise, KOTO has trained over 700 students in our training centres in Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, with 200 of them currently enrolled.​ This inspiring story has lead Learning Vault to begins talks about how they can donate their digital learning resources to support KOTO’s trainers and students.

Wednesday takes us to the Australian Vietnam Skills Conference ‘ VET for Industry’. Cristopher and Maxine were on a panel along with some Worldskills Vietnam students talking about how to promote VET as an aspirational career pathway. Our industry partners looked at what training providers need to do to ensure graduates are ready for the current industry and into the future.

Today, our team will replicate the skills demonstration from Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City and Cristopher will also do a cooking demo to a group of 200 local students along with Learning Vault.


About WorldSkills Australia

WorldSkills Australia is a social enterprise that passionately believes that skills drive your future and Australia’s prosperity. Since 1981 we have been the leading voice for skills excellence in vocational, technological and service-oriented careers in Australia and have raised the awareness of hundreds of thousands of young Australians, as well as their parents, industry and employers that our nation’s future depends on an effective skills training system. For more information, visit

About Australian VET Alumni

The Australian VET Alumni Program is a national community of VET graduates, registered training organisations, VET practitioners and businesses dedicated to sharing their VET journey with Australians to encourage greater participation and best practice in VET. Members are appointed through their participation in national VET awards events and competitions. For more information, visit:

About Australian Skills Week

Australian Skills Week in Vietnam is an opportunity to bring together government, institutions and industry to showcase vocational education and training (VET) and strengthen collaboration between Australia and Vietnam. It aims to facilitate a suite of programs delivered in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to: increase the profile of VET in Vietnam; improve the status of VET as an aspirational career pathway; increase collaboration between World Skills Australia and World Skills Vietnam; and workshop the development of national VET training awards for Vietnam and improve the national VET communications strategy for Vietnam.