WorldSkills NZ National Finals
WorldSkills NZ National Finals
Competitions – 18-20 September – Wellington Institute of Technology, Petone Campus
Award Ceremony -1:30pm, 21 September 2008, the Banquet Hall, Parliament
Competitors at the WorldSkills National Final Competitions are vying for selection to the WorldSkills NZ ToolBlack team and the chance to represent New Zealand at the WoldSkills International competition in Calgary, Canada in September 2009. While winning the National Finals is not an automatic ticket to Calgary as there are other criteria to meet, it is certainly a major part of the equation.
The WorldSkills International competition is a biennial event with competition in nearly 50 different trade categories. Each member country sends it’s best young trades people with the hope of both bringing home a medal and gaining a high ranking on the medals table, which has earned the competition it’s nickname the ‘Skill Olympics’. Last year, the international competition was held in Japan with 49 countries taking part; in 2009, the competition will be held in Calgary with 60-70 countries expected to compete.
Three days of intense competition for 100 competitors in 18 different WorldSkills categories, culminates in the Award Ceremony where winners are announced and medals presented. Competitors come from Kaikohe in the Far North to Invercargill and are part of 8 regional teams, Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Central Nth Island, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago/Southland and the NZ Defence Force. Regional rivalry is intense as each region strongly desires to have a WorldSkills NZ ToolBlack selected from their region.
The benefits to those involved in these competitions are numerous and varied. To the individuals that compete, they get to put ‘best in region or country', or their ranking in the world on their CV, and thus instantly increase their employability. The National Skill Experts who train the NZ team benefit from the networking opportunities presented at domestic and international competitions, which in turn are brought back to New Zealand and their regions to help further and enhance their work with the next generation of young trades’ people.
Our sponsors, including large corporate companies and trade associations, identify and get access to the talented and motivated young trades people in their industry who are at the beginning of their career and who will most likely go on to set up their own businesses. Sponsors see this type of opportunity to forge lifelong brand loyalty as priceless and are keen to invest time and resources to help these young people succeed in their own business, or as a potential valuable employee.
The overall benefit of these competitions is to skills education in New Zealand. By competing internationally, we can see how New Zealand skills standards and training methods stand up against the best of the rest of the world. The knowledge that each individual in our team, both competitor and skills expert, gains from competing against and networking with their peers from other countries, is vital to improving skills education in New Zealand.
Currently, New Zealand is well placed. Last year in Japan, the New Zealand ‘Tool Blacks’ team of 14 competitors came home with 8 medals. The highlights were a silver medal in Auto body Repair (Panel beating) and bronze medals in Printing and Polymechanics (Fitting and Hydraulics). We also received 5 Medallions of Excellence in Auto Technology, Electric Installations, Joinery, Block laying and Welding. This ranked New Zealand 9th in the world, out of 49 countries that competed.
This is a remarkable achievement and a credit to the hard work of all our teams, volunteers and sponsors. Also remarkable is the fact that many of the countries that are ranked behind New Zealand are fully government funded, whereas each member of the New Zealand team has to individually raise their own funds, as well as making time for extra training and working a full time job. It is yet another example of New Zealand punching above it’s weight!
In 2009 we confidently expect to have a team of at least 15 competitors who will again punch well above their weight. The 2009 NZ Tool Black Team will be announced in late October.