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WorldSkills Oceania Competition kicks off in Hamilton

WorldSkills Oceania Competition kicks off in Hamilton

International competitors and their support teams from six Oceanic nations arrived at Wintec in Hamilton yesterday to prepare to take on the Tool Blacks in what is dubbed the 'Olympics of the trades.'

The inaugural WorldSkills Oceania Competition started today and finishes on Friday 17 April.

For the Kiwi team and 102 competitors from Canada, India, Malaysia, China, Australia and Korea, it is an intense challenge with a lot at stake – not least of which is a seat on the plane to Sao Paulo, Brazil to compete in the WorldSkills International Competition in August.

Some competitors tell of putting in 4-5 hours of training per day on top of full-time employment to ensure they were ready for this week's competition.

The Kiwi team is 23-strong and competing in a total of 18 out of the 30 skill categories being contested at the Oceania competition.

The skills the Kiwis are competing in range from aircraft maintenance to various auto and engineering trades, carpentry, joinery, plumbing and heating as well as floristry, hairdressing, restaurant trades and web and graphic design.

Yesterday's powhiri at Te Kōpū Mānia Marae on the Wintec city campus was attended by New Zealand Governor General Sir Jerry Mataparae and WorldSkills International chief executive David Hoey.

Hoey will also be speaking at the WorldSkills New Zealand Conference tomorrow (note: Wednesday, 15 April) morning about widening the services of WorldSkills.

The conference theme of 'Looking into the future' will heavily revolve around the changing nature of vocational training and the role in which technology will play in that, said WorldSkills New Zealand chief executive Howat.

"This week's competition is intense for the under-23 year olds who are at the top of their respective trades for their age," said Howat.

WorldSkills International has been around since 1950 and today has 73 member countries and represents 45 skills.

"One of the gifts of WorldSkills competitions is the confidence the young people gain in their own abilities," says Howat.

"It's helped by receiving the endorsement of a positive peer and skill group that's with them every step of the way."

The public is invited to support the competitors by coming along to the free admission event. It takes place at Wintec in Hamilton from Tuesday 14 April from 9am-4pm through to Thursday 16 April and on Friday 17 April from 9am –12noon.

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About WorldSkills NZ:

WorldSkills New Zealand is an independent, non-profit charitable trust founded in 1986, dedicated to encouraging young people to excel in vocational skills. This is achieved through exposure to competitions at regional, national and international levels.

About WorldSkills International:

WorldSkills International is the global hub for skills excellence and development. Through international cooperation and development between industry, government, organisations, and institutions, we promote the benefits of, and need for, skilled professionals through grassroots community projects, skill competitions, and knowledge exchange.

We show how important skills education and training is for youth, industries and society by challenging young professionals around the world to become the best in the skill of their choice.