A few months ago I was invited to attend the Russian National WorldSkills competition so that I could assist with the competition and share ideas about teaching bricklaying and organising WorldSkills competitions. Russia only joined WorldSkills two years ago but have come a long way in this time and they are keen to continue improving. They are actually preparing a strong bid for Kazan to host the 2019 international WorldSkills competition.
The set-up of the competition was very professional and modelled on last year’s International event which was held in Leipzig Germany. It was Russia’s first international competition in Bricklaying.
As would be predicted there were many differences in the tools and technique in Russia compared to Australia. The most glaring difference was how in Australia, we try to keep full perps while laying and keep the wall as clean as possible and free from trowel marks. The Russian technique is to focus on the positioning of the bricks and then fill in the holes later. This is a method that has been followed dating back to the Soviet era. I gave a few demonstrations about a technique that would keep the joints full as you go and provide a cleaner finished product. This has its benefits both in industry and in competition where time and efficiency is critical.
I was happy with how the sessions were received and I hope I have left the participants with a few thoughts that may be worth considering. There were around 20 bricklaying teachers attending from all over Russia so it was a real buzz to be thinking I could be having quite a widespread effect on their industry and the associated training!
Interestingly, there is a higher proportion on Females in Bricklaying in Russia than there are males, particularly in the training. I have not encountered this before but the women definitely know their stuff. It was enjoyable to work with all the teachers I met at the National Russian WorldSkills competition.
The skill level was still lower than the international average but there is distinct improvement since the international competition and all the young competitors conducted themselves outstandingly well. I do hope to visit again next year and now that I am aware of the nature of their industry I’ll take back more ideas and tools to assist them to improve further.
When I started out in bricklaying and teaching I never dreamt I’d get the chance to do something like this. I am really grateful for the opportunity. It just goes to show where getting involved with TAFE and WorldSkills can take you if you follow your passion. I am eagerly awaiting our own Bricklaying National Competition in Perth in September!
WorldSkills International Chief Expert – Bricklaying