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Queensland's top talent compete for gold at National Skills Championships

Seventy-three of Queensland’s top trainees and apprentices will represent the state at the 2021 WorldSkills Australia National Championships from 26-28 August at TAFE Queensland’s South Bank, Acacia Ridge, Bracken Ridge, Mount Gravatt, Alexandra Hills and Bundaberg campuses.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place around Australia, this year the championships, often likened to the Olympics for Trades, will be contested within four states – Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The national gold, silver and bronze medallists will be announced after the end of the two-day competition.

TAFE Queensland electrical apprentice Lachlan Turnbull from Bethania will be competing, and has been fortunate enough to be trained by his dad, TAFE Queensland electrical teacher Warren Turnbull, who has been involved in the competition for over twenty years.

Lachlan said he is looking forward to competing and feels very lucky to have been chosen as part of the Queensland team.

“So far it’s been really great. I’m feeling a bit nervous but I have done all that I can do to prepare. Having dad to help with my training has definitely made things a lot easier,” Lachlan said.

Lachlan will compete at TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg campus where his skills will be assessed by the team of WorldSkills Australia judges.

The competition was originally postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19 related impacts. The extra time has given competitors more training time to perfect their skills and ready themselves ahead of competing on a national stage.

The 2021 Queensland team members became eligible for selection after competing in WorldSkills Australia regional competitions across the state. They will represent their families, employers and each of the six Queensland WorldSkills regions of Brisbane, Central Queensland, Gold Coast, North Queensland, South West and Wide Bay.

The WorldSkills Australia National Championships is the largest vocational educational and excellence competition in Australia, and biannually competitors travel from across Australia to put their skills to the test in over 50 different trade and skills areas.

This year more than 400 competitors from 34 Australian regions will vie for the title of ‘National Champion’ in simulated work environments during the competition. Competitors will be competing in a range of different skills areas including hairdressing, bricklaying, fashion, plumbing, heavy vehicle mechanics, electrical installation, information technology, retail butchery and cookery — just to name a few.

The spotlight on apprenticeships and trainees as a professional career pathway continues to grow. The most recent release of national apprentice and trainee data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows there were 297 920 apprentices and trainees in training across Australia as at 31 December 2020. Training commencements were up were up 141.5 per cent compared with the December quarter 2019.

WorldSkills Australia Queensland Manager Eric Davis has been involved with the competition since 2003 and said he was once again excited to see the Queensland team test their skills against Australia’s best.

“Each year, the Championships provide competitors with the opportunity to practice and perfect their skill area in a supportive environment then test their skills against their industry peers,” Mr Davis said.

“Participating also provides competitors with the chance to develop important relationships within their industry Australia-wide.”

“The benefits for trainees and apprentices are endless - from further developing their skills to networking, forging new friendships and creating exciting new career opportunities.”

“By the end of the Championships, competitors are more confident in themselves and have a greater understanding of their skill area and industry. Most importantly they bring this confidence and knowledge back to their workplace to benefit their employers, work colleagues and their industry,” he finished.

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell said that TAFE Queensland has long been a strong supporter of the WorldSkills Australia National Championships and is excited to see Queensland’s top trade talent perform on a national stage.

“Vocational education and training forms an integral piece of the Australian education system, and the Championships highlight the important role that skilled workers play in our industries and our communities across Australia,” Mrs Campbell said.

“The three-day competition is an exciting time for each competitor to test their skills and to showcase their talents and we wish everyone the very best of luck.”

Queenslanders who are successful at the National Championships may be asked to travel to Shanghai, China to compete as part of the Australian Skillaroos Team. The 46th WorldSkills International Competition is planned to be held in August 2022.

To follow the competition visit the WorldSkills Australia website or to find out how you can get involved, call the WorldSkills Queensland Office on 07 3244 0230.