WSA competitors jetting off to the UK for BBM Skilled Futures Program

After a farewell reception at the VIBE Hotel in Sydney tonight, 16 of WorldSkills Australia’s most talented competitors will commence the 23 hour journey to the UK to take part in the 2015 BBM Skilled Futures Program.

BBM Youth Support and WorldSkills Australia first partnered in 2000 to select and grant young talented competitors with the scholarship – a valuable and prestigious award which acknowledges and rewards excellence in skills. Upon landing in the UK, the BBM team will travel to Wales to commence a nine day leadership development course conducted by Mission Performance. The course will put the team to the test both physically and mentally, developing their communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills through a series of team-based activities.

After the course, the BBM team are encouraged to undertake 4-6 weeks of international work experience to increase their practical working knowledge of their chosen professions. One of the BBM team members looking forward to his own work experience is Oliver Baker, who was awarded a bronze medal in Cabinetmaking at the 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition in Perth. Baker has secured four weeks of work experience with world-famous cabinetmaking company Mark Asplin Whiteley Ltd.

“I was very excited to get the position, as they have a lot of people wanting to work there,” he says. “I’m looking forward to honing the skills I’ve already learned at my workplace, Capital Veneering. I have already been exposed to a lot of detailed work, and I look forward to expanding that to become a better craftsman.”

“I was very excited and proud of Oliver when I heard that he was selected,” says Baker’s employer, Ben Madden of Capital Veneering.

Madden understands exactly what the experience entails, having received the BBM Skilled Futures Program scholarship himself in 1997. “I worked for 12 months at Mark Asplin Whiteley myself, where I refined my cabinetmaking skills particularly within fine furniture making. The main thing I learned about was veneering, which is basically what inspired me to start up my own business when I came back.

“I hope that Oliver gets the same out of the experience that I did – refining his cabinetmaking skills, but also gaining valuable life experience.”

“The work experience component of the BBM Skilled Futures Program provides a two-way exchange of knowledge,” says WorldSkills Australia CEO, Mark Callaghan. “We have witnessed past BBM recipients bring new knowledge and techniques back to their workplace here in Australia, having also shared their own knowledge with their UK counterparts. In this way, not only are they the students, they also become the teachers or trainers.

“Any work experience obtained in a different environment is beneficial to the development of one’s skills. The experience that the 2015 BBM team is about to undertake will aid in their development both personally and professionally, and we are proud to support these talented young Australians.”

Find out more about the BBM Skilled Futures Program here.