Global Skills Challenge in Newcastle confirms Australian Bricklaying is Again on World Stage
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Global Skills Challenge Newcastle

The Global Skills Challenge

When people think of what you can construct in bricks they think of BBQ’s, new homes, high rise buildings and even garden walls. But the guys competing in WorldSkills’ Global Skills Challenge (GSC) are taking it to an all new level of intricacy in training for WorldSkills International in October this year. The GSC is a simulated international trades competition where 20 young Australians took part in the four-days of competition as the final selection process to determine their place as a Skillaroo. The trades and skills now selected to head to Abu Dhabi are bricklaying, patisserie and confectionery, heavy vehicle mechanics, hairdressing, landscape gardening, refrigeration and air-conditioning, carpentry and wall and floor tiling.

Over 22 hours of competition at Newcastle TAFE and a variety of challenging structures, put the four highly skilled bricklaying competitors through their paces.

In the bricklaying category there were three national winners attending from overseas, plus Trystan Sammut, our WorldSkills Australia champion.  France and the UK are regularly in the top ten at the international level, in fact the UK has won consecutive Gold Medals in London and Leipzig.  Malaysia is improving and tends to do well at the elite level.  Trystan is second from the left, front row, in the above picture, along with these countries representatives.

The project consisted of three modules totalling 640 bricks.  It is anticipated that the international event will have between 550 and 600 bricks, mainly because it is the first time a fully independently designed project will be used (with no pre-competition information available to competitors).

Worldskills LogoThe GSC competition held earlier this month was extremely tough and all the competitors performed at a high level from the start.  Uppermost in the mind of each is that you learn best when you are under pressure and are focused on making the right decision, first time.  A feature of the challenge is that there is a very limited timeframe to construct the three projects with a broad variety of advanced details in the design. In the end, the most accurate and visually appealing project wins.  At the Global Skills Challenge all projects produced were excellent and a real credit to the competitors.

Trystan Sammut: Australian Bricklaying Apprentice – Results and Performance

Trystan’s efforts during the competition were impressive and as his training progresses he is looking more and more like an international competitor.  Pre-competition preparedness and his level of questioning showed significant advancement.  Trystan’s main strength has been his attitude and ability to learn.  These are key attributes in the workplace and are also relevant in training and WorldSkills competitions.

Although this was a training event, it felt like a fair dinkum competition because of the outstanding efforts of the competitors.  In the end, all participants scored extremely well.  Trystan had targets and focus areas, which he did achieve and exceed.  His accuracies for plumb, level, dimensions, alignment and detail all scored particularly well.  An area for further improvement is to improve cleanliness off the trowel while maintaining the speed and accuracy, mainly through technique adjustment and managing cut-off mortar more effectively.  He will also receive specialist tuition in rendering as there tends to be a small component in the design.

Energies will be invested into ensuring he has the best toolkit possible so he is ready for any design that is thrown at him.  The ABBTF Scholarship money has assisted greatly with this and all the other factors that contribute to his preparedness to compete at the highest level.

The final touches

It was a very proud moment when Trystan was announced in the Australian Team last week.  It is quite a responsibility for the 20 year old to represent his country, industry, employer and training provider on the world’s stage.  Trystan has earned his place and hopefully his journey will inspire other young people to choose bricklaying as a skills-based career.  His family and his girlfriend Eliza have been great support.

There are now less than 100 days until the big event and the 30 competitors across the world will be cramming as much training as possible in order to produce their best in the four days in Abu Dhabi.  In the 12 week lead-in Trystan will be training three days a week at his home base of Ballarat.

It really helps that Trystan has so much support in all areas that form the ‘triangle of support’ including his family, his partner Eliza, his teachers, the Ballarat community and also the bricklaying industry who will all be sharing in the journey that culminates in Abu Dhabi at the 44th WorldSkills International.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to the experts and competitors who made the long journey to Newcastle from their respective countries.  It was a valuable and enjoyable experience for all of the brickies there.  Now to roll up the sleeves further and step up the training.

Troy Everett
Training Manager and International Chief Expert – Bricklaying


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