A mighty battle was fought for the National WorldSkills title with the victorious Gold Medal winner Todd Richards from Mackay Qld, never having once laid pressed clay bricks used for the National competition. North of Rockhampton, about 90% of brick building is in concrete blocks and the remainder is the extruded clay brick, rather than the full pressed brick.
Silver Medallist in the competition was young Alan Ramsden, just turning 18 years, from Perth suggesting many more successes in this competition may well come in the future. Matthew Barratt, 22 years, from Hobart in Tasmania won the Bronze Medal, continuing a family tradition of great competition performers and cementing a great WorldSkills event as the runner up in the Gun Trowel. We hope to report on all three winners soon and hear their ideas on the event in a future blog.
From the first brick laid to the final call of ‘tools down’ all 13 apprentices demonstrated why they are the best from their region around Australia. Students and trainers had spent endless hours over the past few months preparing for the event. Amazingly all the apprentices demonstrated a different style and approach to constructing the project. This alone made it a very interesting spectator event.
As predicted, the project was challenging and it was clear that the young apprentices were feeling the pressure of competition and the scrutiny from Judges and onlookers. However, well-honed skills were on show – they all looked like ‘naturals’ as they buttered, placed and tapped bricks into place with the precision and efficiency of a master craftsman.
Troy Everett, WorldSkills National Chief Judge and International Chief Expert for Bricklaying said about the competitors, “I observed how well they conducted themselves during the competition, they had all worked extremely hard but played fair as well. We try and use the competition to not only determine rankings and present medals, but also to promote our trade through skills excellence and professional conduct. Each of the competitors can be very proud of themselves in this regard.”
Todd Richards, the National winner, has completed his apprenticeship, and unfortunately is just outside the upper age qualifying limit to participate internationally. It is hoped and expected that Alan Ramsden, bricklaying’s Silver Medalist will be able to represent Australian bricklaying but this is yet to be confirmed by the organisers.
When asked about this, category expert and judge Troy Everett said “We now look ahead to Germany in July next year where we hope to be taking a bricklaying representative to the International Competition. Judging by the standard of the national competition Australia will once again be well represented and hopefully we can continue our run of medals at the highest level.”
ABBTF also conducted a Try-a-Trade at the event, adjacent to the bricklaying competition area over the three days of the competition.
It was a great success with school students providing them with perhaps their first opportunity to get a taste of bricklaying and to lay a brick with past International WorldSkills Bronze medallist Nigel Croke who generously gave his time.