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Tutor finds inspiration at skills competition in Brazil

Tutor finds inspiration at WorldSkills competition in Brazil

Whitireia tutor Sam Dean has just returned from the 2015 WorldSkills International competition in Brazil, where he served as the carpentry expert for the New Zealand team.

The competition, which was held in “the biggest shed you can imagine,” the sprawling Anhembi Sambadrome complex in Sao Paolo, is the largest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world and brings together the best young people from around the globe in their chosen profession. Almost 1500 competitors from over 50 countries simulate real work challenges that must be completed to international standards of quality.

An experienced carpentry tutor, Dean became involved with the New Zealand WorldSkills team after he was shoulder-tapped by a former colleague. After judging the regional and national competitions, at which UCOL graduate Matty Hull emerged as New Zealand’s best young carpenter, he was assigned the task of taking him through to the Oceania and international competitions.

Competitors at the international event were required to: draw sufficient details of the project to determine the length, shape, angles and joints for each piece of wood; mark out the wood accurately; prepare the materials by cutting to length, forming bevels and forming joints; and assemble the project using a variety of fixing devices. They were judged on: their ability to read and interpret drawings and written instructions; accurate plan and set out; form neat joints and prepare wood for assembly; assemble and fasten all components of the structure with a high level of precision; and produce a neat finish that conforms with the specifications.

Dean said the project for the event was “very high level,” and that he was proud of Hull’s effort in finishing 15th overall. He noted that the incredibly technical nature of the project particularly suited the competitors from Germany and South Korea, where the artisanal aspect of carpentry is still a focus of training. He points out that in countries such as New Zealand, carpenters are primarily trained in more broad and functional skills.

The event also provided Dean with the opportunity to make contacts and exchange information on best practices in professional education with other industry leaders and education experts. He played a key role in initiating an overhaul of the judging criteria for the carpentry section of the competition and will liaise with experts from other countries on the format for carpentry ahead of the next event in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Dean said his involvement with WorldSkills New Zealand had helped him grow as a carpentry teacher. This was already flowing through to his work with the latest intake of Whitireia carpentry students, he said, who have just begun work on a “shell house” for Brittons Housemovers.

WorldSkills New Zealand is an independent, non-profit charitable trust founded in 1986, dedicated to encouraging young people to excel in vocational skills. This is achieved through exposure to competitions at regional, national and international levels.

Through competitions, WorldSkills New Zealand gives young professionals on a vocational career path the self-confidence and experiences they need to reach their full potential.


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