Every year WorldSkills Australia hosts The Global Skills Challenge, the warm-up event to WorldSkills 2019 to be held in Kazan, Russia later this year. Invitations are extended to the global WorldSkills community to take part as it gives the competitors the opportunity to benchmark themselves against international competition.
To see the competition up close, we visited the the Kangan Institute, which hosted several trades across the four days, with car-painting being held at the Automotive Centre of Excellence in Melbourne’s Docklands. Competitors came from China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Russia and from New Zealand represented by Callum Dodds. The Australian representative, Maxine Colligan, a National Collision Repairer Future Leader of the Industry, was the only female competitor, and from the outset appeared comfortable at international level. “The anticipation waiting for the competition to begin was a bit nerve-racking, but once we got underway, I really got into the groove,” said Colligan.
The competition is set over four days and involves seven modules including: Masking, Touch-Up, Plastic Repair, Two-Tone Finishes, Matt Clear, Colour-Matching and Panel Design. Brad Franklin, Technical Training Manager at Sherwin-Williams and WorldSkills International Deputy Chief Expert, established the program and provides guidance to other Experts in the judging and marking processes. “I’ve been doing this for almost two decades and I just love it. It’s such a thrill to see the quality of young talent that we have here in Australia and New Zealand and of course around the world. I am so grateful to Richard Reneman, Sherwin-Williams Australasian Business Director for his support over the years.” Together with the International Chief Expert, Franklin will also be responsible for training and managing the other international Experts at WorldSkills 2019 in Kazan. Additionally, the IR and UV curing equipment was supplied by Lihtan International, through Sherwin-Williams distributor, James Gunn.
BASF, with their Glasurit brand is the international sponsor of the spray-painting competition once again. Peter Jones, Glasurit National Head Trainer said: “We are proud to continue to support WorldSkills and to ensure all competitors are familiar with our products, we have supplied all of the coatings used during this warm up event. These are the same products to which they will be exposed in Kazan.” Jones is the driving force behind Colligan’s training which she does at BASF’s Automotive Centre of Excellence in Sydney.
3M Automotive Aftermarket provided all the ancillaries and consumables for the event and Ryan Williamson, 3M Segment Sales Manager was keen add: “It has been a pleasure to work with Maxine and Callum in the event and we at 3M are so pleased to be able to provide our products and expose the competitors to our world class technology.”
Also at the event was Damian Cahill, Collision Business Manager at GM Holden who provided an array of vehicles, panels, parts, components and shells for the event. “We are delighted to be involved in this great initiative. Every piece of metal or plastic the competitors touch over the four days is a Holden Genuine Part. It reflects our ongoing commitment to the next generation of technicians.” said Cahill.
GM Holden also donated an additional 50 front guards to the Automotive Centre of Excellence and Gavin Cribb, Business Manager was there to accept the donation. “It is only with the generosity of organisations such as GM Holden that we are able to provide leading edge training to our apprentices on an ongoing basis.” The Automotive Centre of Excellence was hosting the event for the first time and Cribb pointed out that his entire staff came together to seamlessly plan the event to ensure the regular students continue to get the support they have come to expect.
Following four days of intensive competition, Maxine Colligan was judged the overall winner, holding off strong challenges from the competitors from both China and Russia, with Callum Dodds from New Zealand in 4th place. Franklin was very impressed with the result and said: “Maxine’s talent, poise and coolness under pressure as key factors in her success. She is now a member for the Skillaroos Team headed for Russia.”
Colligan was keen to express her appreciation for those that have supported her journey. “I have great support from my employer, Gemini Campbelltown and my TAFE Teacher, Carl Tinsley. In addition, the training I’ve received from Brad Franklin of Sherwin-Williams, George Di Scala of 3M and Peter Jones of BASF has all been invaluable.”
Looking ahead to WorldSkills in Kazan. It is estimated that it takes approximately €100m to put on the International WorldSkills competition. Add to that, the investment in a brand-new facility in Kazan and its clear that the Russian government is truly committed to the WorldSkills program.
Editor: We will continue to monitor Colligan and Dodds’ journey as they get closer to the WorldSkills International competition in Kazan.