The WorldSkills International competition has been expanding at a rapid rate. Only five years ago the organisation set the target of having a minimum of 70 member countries by 2020. We are in 2015 and there are now 74 member countries so this is a great sign that the world is recognising the importance of skills development and excellence.
As a result of having a greater number of countries and competitors involved, the role of Compatriot Support Expert has been announced to accompany the Chief Expert in each WorldSkills International skill category. Eric Davis was selected as the Compatriot Support Expert in Bricklaying for the competition in Brazil. It was a fitting reward for someone who not only has put in a lot of time and effort into WorldSkills Australia and internationally, but he also puts a big effort into the bricklaying trade generally. Eric is constantly travelling around Queensland engaging an enormous number of young people in Try-a-Trade events, aiming to promote the great career that is on offer in Bricklaying.
As part of his role with WorldSkills International and consistent with the objectives of the inaugural ABBTF Scholarship, Eric helped train and mentor Sam Spong for the massive challenge in Brazil and he contributed greatly to the successful outcome achieved by Sam in winning a Bronze medal, one of just five medals won by our nation. Every month Eric took time away from his schedule to travel to Wollongong TAFE to train Sam for blocks of four days and this escalated as the competition came closer.
During the competition event, Eric provided immense support to Sam, with words of advice and encouragement at critical stages. He held his own when dealing with other Experts from around the world assessing the work produced and ensuring it was a fair competition for all involved.
I was personally very pleased for Eric to have had this experience and the medal night was particularly exciting and emotional when Sam’s name was called out as a medallist. Quite apart from this we are both very proud of Sam for the manner in which he represented his country and industry. It was such a gutsy effort and Eric and I were privileged to be a part of Sam’s WorldSkills Australia journey and the incredible event in Sao Paulo, Brazil last month.
WorldSkills International Chief Expert – Bricklaying.
Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador