In pursuit of gold

Trent Light, pictured with his gold medal from the WorldSkills regional event, will be competing at the National Championships in Sydney this weekend.

Two young Narrandera men will be taking part in the Worldskills Australia 2018 National Championships in Sydney this week.

TAFE NSW Wagga commercial cookery student Trent Light and TAFE NSW Leeton electrical student Quinten Bell have sharpened their skills in preparation to step into a skills battlefield of their industry peers.

Trent, 23, who resides and works in Narrandera, said his anticipation was building after months of mentorship by TAFE NSW teachers as he packs his tools of the trade.

“I’m competing against Australia’s best and it’s interesting to be able to benchmark myself against the others,” he said. “Everyone’s in the same position so I’m just focusing on practising as much as I can right now.”

Trent is a chef at Narrandera’s Charlie’s on East restaurant, and finished first in the WorldSkills regional event to qualify for the nationals. At the nationals, he will  be asked to cook a range of pre-announced meals but judges will include a mystery ingredient at the last minute.

“Being chosen to compete at Skills Show 2018 in the National Championships is such an honour and I can’t wait to see what I can achieve,” Trent said. “I’m very grateful to WorldSkills Australia for this opportunity, and to my employer, TAFE NSW and  all who have helped me along the way.”

Quinten, who also resides in Narrandera, is also honing his skills ready to compete against his industry peers in Sydney.

“This is a great opportunity to see if my skill set is at the same level as all these top apprentices,” Quinten,19, said. “I’m a little nervous but I’m also excited.”

Over 400 competitors from across the country will vie for the title of ‘National Champion’ in 50 trade and skill categories.

WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd said WorldSkills Australia was nurturing and developing the skills of young Australians, and congratulated competitors for “excelling in their fields and reaching such a prestigious national level”.

“Choosing a vocational education and training path can open up some incredible and varied career opportunities,” Mr Judd said. “Many of the occupations predicted to have the strongest jobs growth in the next five years are offered by our vocational education and training sector.”

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Kerry Penton said WorldSkills is the country’s largest vocational education and excellence competition.

“Both these skilful Riverina students earned the right to participate in this training camp after upstaging some of the best local talent at the regional WorldSkills competition in Albury,” she said.

The ultimate goal for Trent and Quinten will be to win a gold medal, which will earn them a place on the Australian Skillaroos team to compete with the world’s best at the 45th WorldSkills International Competition finals to be held in Austria in 2020.

The WorldSkills Australia 2018 National Championships will be held at ICC Sydney from June 2 to 4. It will see over 500 vocational students converge on Darling Harbour over the three days.

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