WorldSkills National Championships and Skills Show 2021 paves way for future

The night before WorldSkills 2021 was due to kick off Trevor Schwenke, Chief Executive Officer of WorldSkills Australia, was sitting in a hotel room in Perth when the news hit, one case of covid-19 has been recorded in WA. The event was set up, the participants were ready to go – and he just crossed his finger that the event would go ahead after pulling out all the stops to get it this far.

And luckily, it did.

Just three days later, WorldSkills National Championships and Skills Show 2021 had opened its doors at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre to over 11,000 visitors, 9000 visitors joined online, and the event hashtag had over 60,000.

Whilst the numbers where fantastic, for Trevor it was more about the young people who had spent the last 18 months preparing for the event.

“It’s really about making sure those young people that wanted to compete, showcase and benchmark their skills at their national level got the opportunity to and not all of them will,” he said.

The WorldSkills Australia competition activity begins in competitions held in one of 34 regions around Australia.

The National Championships is Australia’s biggest vocational education and excellence competition. Over three days at Skills Show Australia, selected regional competitors are flown from around the country to showcase and benchmark their skills on the national stage competing against their industry peers from around the country. More than 50 trades and skills from seven skill clusters are represented at a WorldSkills competition.

Competitions are designed by industry and skills experts who assess an individual’s knowledge, practical competence, and employability skills against a set of strict criteria. Competitors can progress competing at national and international levels, in front of over 200,000 people.

In 2021, this looked a bit different. Whilst participants from local areas still made it to the arena – many will have competed or are still to compete in their own state (with some states still to confirm their ability to do so) and with some even competing online.

“They still competed from home in the national championship, so we took eight skills into their digital virtual world,” Trevor said.

“30 young people across Australia have competed at the national level over the two days as a as a full competition.”

The competition was also live streamed for the first time, meaning that viewers from all across Australia were able to login and join the event from the comfort of their home. And even when the restrictions of the current pandemic end, the innovation from this year’s competition will remain for future years.

“We want to do this in future so we can get much wider spread of people involved,” Trevor said.

The WorldSkills Australia event is far more than just the competition. Throughout this event, there are nine life changing pathway and scholarship opportunities that involve additional study, work experience, overseas travel or financial support on offer.

These programs are designed to further develop the skills of the many young people who participate in WorldSkills Australia events.

WorldSkills Australia also worked with the SkillsWest Careers and Employment Expo, National Skills Week and SkillsOne to showcase the many opportunities that an Apprenticeship or Traineeship can offer.

This looked like your traditional expo with booths set up for people to discuss their career options with one of the many experts on-site. And whilst many national organisations had to rethink their approach, there was still a fantastic industry presence at the event.

“This event is really about the young people, and showing them how VET pathways can lead to a career,” Trevor said.

The WorldSkills Australia’s Try’aSkill program allows participants to experience the many careers available through VET by offering fun hands-on activities by industry experts.

Try’aSkill allows participants to discover the different types of techniques and tools required in a large variety of trades and skills such as automotive services, building & construction, client services, computing & business, hospitality services and metals & engineering.

“I think that’s important that when you do events like this you actually engage young people as much as you can,” Trevor said.

“At WorldSkills Australia, we work with the Education Department to help promote this to schools across WA to come along.”

And come along they did, with 11,000 participants having the opportunity to get hands on experiences in:

  • Hospitality & Client Services
  • Building & Construction
  • Automotive Services and Metals & Engineering
  • Computing & Business

Throughout the event, participants were able to interact with trainers and local businesses within several industries and gain advice on their future career pathways.

Try’aSkill events are also available at other events, including careers expos, shopping centres, classrooms and more.

Whilst many events from WorldSkills Australia 2021 are still to run, the planning for the next event is well underway with the next Regional Cycles to begin in January 2022.

Competitors can win gold, silver or bronze medals and gain the chance to go on to compete at a national and international level, with all participants receiving a certificate of participation to add to their resume.

More than 50 trades and skills from seven skill clusters are represented at a WorldSkills competition. The seven skill clusters are:

Before applying be sure to check your eligibility.

To be eligible to enter a WorldSkills competition, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Be undertaking studies towards a qualification at an RTO/TAFE or University
  • Undertaken/completed a relevant qualification at an RTO/TAFE or University having a discussion with your training provider of employer first.

If you competed in this years’ competition but didn’t get to attend, or simply want another go you may still be able to apply. Past regional and national competitors within the age limit (with the exception of international competitors and National Championship Gold Medallists) may enter again.

If your skill is not being run in your region, or in nominations are already closed, competitors may participate in another region running that skill, pending confirmation from that region.

If your skill is not listed, it could be categorised under a different name, or it may not be offered by WorldSkills Australia as a competition skill. Talk to your teacher/trainer about alternative trade/skill names or contact your Main Regional Coordinator.

If you meet the eligibility, it is then a good idea to have a chat to your Training Provider and/or Employer before nominating.

You can then nominate yourself or a teacher.

A training provider or employer can also nominate you.

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