With less than four months until the opening of the 45th WorldSkills International Championship in Kazan, Russia, WorldSkills Australia has selected 40 people, 15 competitors and 25 experts and officials, to represent Australia at the competition. Australia, currently tenth on the WorldSkills rankings, is aiming this year for a top five finish.

The 15 young men and women from across Australia, known as the Skillaroos, will compete against the best apprentices and trainees from the 60 WorldSkills member countries. The championship brings together more than 1,600 young people aged between 19 to 22. Among the trades and skills represented are Refrigeration & Air Conditioning and Electrical Installation.

Queensland refrigeration apprentice Patrick Brennan took out the Gold medal at the WorldSkills Global Challenge in Melbourne last month. That competition was the final selection process for those hoping to represent their country in Kazan.

Patrick competed against young refrigeration apprentices and trainees from nine other countries, including the medal winning countries (Korea, Russia and China) from the 2017 WorldSkills International Championship. Over the first three days competitors had to install and commission a glycol refrigeration system. The fourth and final day involved fault-finding and an air-conditioning retrofit.

Not only did Patrick excel in his category, he also received the Best in Nation award for the highest points score in his country across all skills. Patrick said: “It was a big tick for me and (trainer) Carl Balke to see that we’re at the pointy end not only of our skills but of our country as well.”

WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd congratulated the Skillaroos on being selected to represent Australia.

“I applaud their determination and congratulate them on their selection. But their success would not have been possible without the dedication and support of their expert trainers and mentors, many of whom volunteer their time and experience to work with the Skillaroos.

“These young people are excelling in their chosen fields and many have already been rewarded with international experience and opportunities – their training and skills are really taking them places.”

WorldSkills Australia will also send a group of category experts to Kazan who will act as judges and advisors. They will also get the opportunity to learn about best practice in other WorldSkills member nations and bring these learnings back to Australia.

It is expected that more than 250,000 spectators will attend the Championship taking place in Russia between 22 and 27 August 2019.