Apprentices in training for tradie Olympics

24 Jan 2018

Two Newcastle City Council apprentices will vie for a place in an international contest recognised as the Olympic Games for trades after proving their skills at regional level.

Carpentry and joinery first-year apprentice Rhys Beaumont and graphics and signs first-year apprentice Madeline Flatman both won their respective trade categories at the regional WorldSkills Australia competition late last year.

The chosen trades of both Rhys and Madeline are among those listed as experiencing a national skills shortage - an issue Council is addressing through its apprenticeship and traineeship development program.

The pair are now in training for the National Championships in Sydney in June, where an Australian "Skillaroos" team will be selected to compete against more than 70 other nations at the 45th WorldSkills in Russia in 2019.

Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath said apprentices from the Hunter were consistently among Australia's top-performers in the WorldSkills contest.

"We've got such great talent here in Newcastle and we're proud at Newcastle City Council to be nurturing that talent through our apprenticeship and traineeship development program," he said.

"WorldSkills isn't just about the chance to win a medal. It opens up pathways and possibilities for apprentices, from the opportunity to land scholarships to the exposure they get working alongside their top-performing peers at national and international level."

Rhys, 19, is a former snowboarding instructor who returned from a stint on the ski fields of Canada to take up his apprenticeship last year.

Madeline, 20, answered an advertisement for graphics and signs apprenticeships in a bid to feed her creative flair.

Both will train intensively in the lead-up to the National Championships, where they will be given a range of trade-specific tasks to complete within a set time limit.

"Madeline and Rhys have already done Newcastle, and everyone at Council, proud," Mr Bath said.

"We wish them luck in June and will continue to work with them to help bring out their best."

Council last week welcomed its latest intake of eight apprentices and two trainees under its apprenticeship and development program.

The new recruits will now develop their expertise in everything from business administration to civil construction.

The WorldSkills National Championships in June will involve more than 500 competitors covering 60 trades and skills, across three days of competition.