As the dust settles on another great WorldSkills competition, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights that contributed to the excitement.
The day before the event the group of competitors and judges came together for a familiarisation period where competitors could test the products they would be using, arrange their areas and tools for the comp and they also received the full project plans for the first time.
I have never seen such a focused bunch of competitors and I am sure many were daunted by the challenges contained in the project design. That evening, the bricklaying fraternity came together at a function arranged by ABBTF and it was a great way to psych everyone up even further for what was ahead!
The next day the competition commenced at 8am and although there were plenty of nerves in the arena, many were glad to get started and do what they do best. The race was on and it was so interesting to see how every single competitor constructed the first project in a unique order. Clearly each of the competitors had come with a game plan of how to tackle the very technical first project.
In the middle stages of Day 1 the speed test was conducted and once again it was a spectacle to behold with a number of competitors able to construct a pier as high as they could reach in the 20 minute time limit. Competitors then resumed work on their main competition projects while the judges determined who would win the ABBTF “Gun Trowel” award. It was so close between the top two competitors that the judging had to be triple-checked to confirm the rank. Eventually Matthew Cheso from Adelaide was determined the winner, with Matthew Barratt from Tasmania a close runner up.
As the competition progressed the pressure grew. The competitors knew that they had to really motor if they were going to finish. When the comp time ended at lunchtime on Saturday, many had pushed themselves to the limit to complete and the judges could see that the work produced was of a very high standard.
When the judging had been completed, medals were presented at a prestigious ceremony at the Capitol Theatre on the Sunday evening. Todd Richards from Central Queensland was announced as the gold medallist, with Alan Ramsden winning Silver and Matthew Barratt winning Bronze. Sincere congratulations to the medallists but also to all the competitors. There were so many great stories to come out of the event, but it was the performance under pressure from each competitor that was a true highlight. Even when a few of the competitors had realised they were out of medal contention, they still did their best til the end.
Our thanks go to the outstanding team of judges and to our major sponsor ABBTF. They continually advocate skills excellence through support of the competitions and all the young bricklayers who engage in WorldSkills events.
WorldSkills National Chief Judge and International Chief Expert for Bricklaying.