I was recently able to arrange a WorldSkills International training experience in China for Australia’s Bricklaying’s hopeful entrant in the world event in Abu Dhabi October, Trystan Sammut. The Chinese competition’s primary purpose was to assist that country in selecting its competitor for the world stage. I cannot stress how valuable this event proved to be as a training opportunity for Trystan, as we have identified so many small issues that just would not be detected in a training shed but could make all the difference at the International.
In my role as WorldSkills International Chief Expert – Bricklaying, I had sent a few suggestions for projects to the Chinese organisers. They accepted one and also chose the main project from the Brazil international competition as the second project. A total of 15 hours was available for the competition which included two 7.5 hour days.
It was really challenging for Trystan because he did not get final plans until the competition was about to start and there was a lack of time to familiarise himself with the different mortar and bricks. So the first of the two 7.5 hour days was therefore pretty tough, but Trystan hung in there well and we took a lot of great information away to invest in future training. Despite his unfamiliarity with the plans and materials, Trystan produced some very good work that was particularly accurate but he was significantly behind time. With the first day behind him and some overnight discussions we established goals and some technique adjustments that we felt would help him adapt.
The ‘Brazil’ project on the second day was tough for all competitors, based on the amount of work left to complete at the end by most of the young bricklayers. Given Trystan’s unfamiliarity with the material, we chose the aspects of the job that were worth the most marks and decided to leave a few features out that would not look technically correct but would mean that he would grab as many of the marks available, especially at the top of the wall. It turned out to work well as only one competitor completed the second project and not to the highest standard.
The assessment confirmed that Trystan performed extremely well on the second day. I was extremely pleased with his efforts where he completed with seconds to spare. The strategy had worked very well and it had presented Trystan with a realistic but very difficult goal for the day. It was really rewarding to see him motoring and looking like an international competitor on the second day, especially in the way he was moving.
One of the Chinese competitors was also very accurate and it was clear over the course of the two days that the Chinese bricklaying competitors have improved considerably and adopted a lot of practices from other leading WorldSkills countries. We were very appreciative of the opportunity to bring Trystan to this event and I thank the sponsors for their hospitality.
Trystan has a great attitude and his key strength is his accuracy. We plan to spend a lot of time training together so he can be the best he can be for October.
There is an upcoming training event in Newcastle called the Global Skills Challenge and he will be competing against two countries that perform extremely well in WorldSkills competitions – the UK and France. It will be another opportunity to develop his competition skills, but this time on home turf.
WorldSkills International Chief Expert – Bricklaying and Training Manager – Bricklaying
Head Teacher: Civil Engineering and Surveying Illawarra TAFE, NSW