THE Olympics may be over but Australia’s sports champions aren’t the only ones chasing gold medals.
Australia’s best apprentices and trainees will compete in the WorldSkills Australia 2016 National Competition in Melbourne in October, showcasing their trades and skills with sights set on the podium.
This year’s event is the largest yet, with 60 skill categories including caring, game design and development, visual merchandising and marine mechanics. It will involve 300 judges and $10 million of materials and equipment including 8 tonnes of steel, 10km of cabling, 9000 bricks, 80 mannequin heads, 600kg of flour and 3000 stems of flowers and foliage.
WorldSkills Australia chief executive Brett Judd said competitors should be celebrated even more than our sports champions.
“With the Olympic Games in Rio we celebrate the gold medallists that have dedicated themselves (and) bring them back to Australia and put them on a pedestal, but what will (they) do for the economic growth of Australia’s future?” he said.
“The young people coming through WorldSkills are not only being challenged to become the best but they have to think about what it means to become a future leader. They will employ people, pay taxes and be innovative and creative in their industry.”
South Australian Hayley Gladdis, 22, will compete in WorldSkills’ painting and decorating category and has been in training for the past six months.
“It’s pretty full-on,” she said.
“I work a full day then go to TAFE and spend a few hours with my lecturer practising all the different aspects ... It’s something I want to be proud of and it gives my employer a boost as well.”
The painting and decorating competition will include wallpapering a corner and around a door frame within an hour, colour matching and painting a door with a mirror-like finish.
Ms Gladdis said hers was a male-dominated industry but she encouraged more women to get involved.
“If it’s something you enjoy, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks,” she said.
The WorldSkills Australia National Competition runs October 6 to 8 at Melbourne Showgrounds.
Visit worldskills.org.au for more information.