Young cabinetmaker receives World Wood Day honours for second year running

By: Steve Bulman

Young Australian cabinetmaker, Kate Elstone has received yet another invitation from the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) to represent Australia and WorldSkills Australia in the International Young Adult Furniture Making Invitational (IYAFMI) to help celebrate World Wood Day on 21 March. This year the event will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Kate’s first invitation was to an event in Turkey in 2015 following her gold medal win in the WorldSkills Australia Regional Competition in Cabinetmaking for the Geelong Region and a credible placing in the 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Perth, where she competed whilst only a second year apprentice.

The multi-award winning chair that Kate designed and built in Turkey was retained for permanent display in a new timber museum in Eskisehir, Turkey. This outcome coupled with Kate’s pleasant, efficient and passionate approach to her craft almost certainly helped secure her invitation to the 10 day celebrations in Nepal.

Employed, supported and mentored by Fusion Cabinets in Ocean Grove and trained at The Gordon in Geelong, Kate feels that her experiences in Perth and Turkey have helped her improve both her skills and her WorldSkills Australia Regional Competition result in 2015. She hopes that this new experience will help her achieve greatness this October at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne.

“My previous experience gained with WorldSkills Australia in Perth prepared me well for Turkey, where I had to work amongst some of the world’s best young cabinetmakers and furniture makers. I was an individual invitee in Turkey and also a member of one of the collaborative teams,” says Kate.

“This time I am turning things around and I hope that what I learn in Kathmandu will help me later in the year in Melbourne. IWCS has given me an important role this year as a team leader of one of the collaborative design and build groups.”

25 young invitees from 22 nations will meet in Nepal to learn from each other and enjoy meeting international peers throughout the event. They will be joined by wood carvers and wood turners, wooden instrument makers and musicians and be treated to a rich festival of cultural celebration of all things wood.

“I am so thankful for the opportunities WorldSkills Australia and World Wood Day have presented me. Initially, I had very little idea of the windows of opportunity that would be opened to me by simply entering a Regional Competition. Participation has been so much fun and so rewarding on both a personal and skill acquisition level. 2016 is going to be a fabulous year, with Kathmandu and Melbourne sure to be highlights!”

Steve Bulman is a 20+ year volunteer with WorldSkills Australia, during which time he has been a Regional, National and International Project Designer, Judge and Expert. Steve is a retired joiner with over 40 years of experience running his own joinery business. He is still actively involved in WorldSkills Australia through the Melbourne Region, is an honorary member of the WADIC committee and has a Project Manager / Lead Judge role with IWCS which has seen him travel to China, Turkey and Nepal for World Wood Day celebrations over the last 2 years. Steve will accompany Kate to Kathmandu and works tirelessly to ensure WorldSkills Australia maintains and grows their presence at WWD.