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Three decades of skills competitions

Eric has mentored and encouraged students in WorldSkills competitions, he says "I've done every job in the organisation, I've loved it."

WorldSkills Queensland Manager Eric Davis has been involved in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector for a long time, with much of the past 20 years spent in various roles connected to WorldSkills, an international trade skills organisation which advocates for skills development and runs trade skill competitions at regional, national, and international levels.

Eric’s journey with VET started in 1985 when he embarked on TAFE Queensland’s Beginning Teachers program which saw prospective teachers complete an intensive two-year VET teaching qualification that included theory and practical training to become accredited trainers in their trade area, that being bricklaying for Eric.

It was during his early years as a teacher that Eric was first asked to lend a hand as judge for a regional WorldSkills competition in 1991 at the TAFE Queensland Yeronga campus. From that moment on, he was hooked.

As a TAFE Queensland bricklaying teacher, Eric would continue to lend his expertise to regional WorldSkills competitions, travelling as well to National Championship events with competitors he had trained as part of the WorldSkills Queensland team.

Eric would, across the coming years, perform a number of different jobs attached to WorldSkills including National Championships Category Convener, Regional and National Judge, National Chief Judge, National Project Design Team member, National Championships Organising Committee member, and National Championships Site Crew member – all before he began working at the WorldSkills Australia Queensland office fulltime in 2009.

“I’ve done every job in the organisation, I’ve loved it. From the first time you see these events you just want to be involved,” Mr Davis said.

“I was heavily involved for a long time while also teaching my trade and teaching workplace health and safety at TAFE Queensland, and then an opportunity came up to work at WorldSkills fulltime and I took it,” he said.

Eric joined the team as the WorldSkills Queensland Manager and has expanded on his duties ever since, adding Oceania and International Competition Expert and Global Skills Challenge Judge to his list of experience.

His first experience of a WorldSkills International Competition was in 2009 in Calgary, Canada which he attended while on holidays and was inspired by the sheer size and scale of the event.

He visited the London International Competition in 2011 as a spectator again and would go on to become an International Expert in his trade area for the São Paulo, Brazil and Kazan, Russia International Competitions in 2015 and 2019.

As the Queensland Manager, Eric will again be leading the recently announced Queensland team to the National Championships this August in Melbourne.

Eric is a key example of the typical VET sector teacher – especially those at TAFE Queensland – who has a passion for sharing and even enhancing his own skills with the next generation, and he has been a strong supporter of the WorldSkills initiative since his first taste more than 30 years ago.