The WorldSkills Australia National Championships were held in Melbourne over the weekend, with 470 competitors from around Australia vying for medals in different areas of vocational education and training (VET).
The aim of the event is to get young Australians excited about skills and trades and growing Australia’s skills culture. It’s also about building the strength of industry and community, by providing a forum for engagement and cooperation.
Federal Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor opened the event by underlining the importance of the trades.
“For a long time, we have placed university study as superior to VET education, and we’re paying the price for that,” he said.
“That price is the most significant skills shortage in recent memory.
“We need to support both if we are to keep up with skills needs that are changing faster than ever. Both university and VET education are vital pillars to having the skills pool to best face the global challenges of our time.”
Across 55 different skills, 470 regional winners came together to compete at the event. From bricklaying to beauty therapy, from cookery to cloud computing, all challenges were held under one big roof at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, giving visitors – and many groups of school students – the chance to see firsthand what is involved in diverse professions.
Refrigeration and air conditioning once again had a dedicated category. And after three days of challenges including building a refrigerated cabinet and fault-finding air conditioning systems, Canberra Institute of Technology student Floyd Lucas-Baxter walked away with the gold.
“Refrigeration is clearly something I’m meant to do, and everything’s fallen into place,” he told Canberra Weekly.
“I’ve had harder physical days on the tools, but this was long days on your feet and there was no rest from thinking about the tasks. I had to be on point the whole time.”
The final results were:
- Gold – Floyd Lucas-Baxter (Canberra, ACT)
- Silver – Bailey Loenneker (East Coast Qld)
- Bronze – Blake Harris (Melbourne, Vic)
- Certificate of Excellence – Spencer Wende (North Qld) and Tyde Wharerau (Perth South, WA)
Photo, courtesy of WorldSkills, shows (L-R) Blake Harris, Floyd Lucas-Baxter, Bailey Loenneker and Judson Hamsa from long-time WorldSkills supporter Kirby.