A team of 15 talented young Australian ‘Skillaroos’ - including Visual Connections-sponsored Indy Griffiths - has placed 8th in the world after competing in their chosen skills with teams from 65 other countries at the 45th WorldSkills International Championships held in Kazan, Russia.
The Australian team enters the stadium in Kazan
The 'Skillaroos’ comprised 15 young apprentices and trade professionals who competed in their chosen skill against competitors from around the world.
Four of this year’s team - Patrick Brennan, Maxine Colligan, Clinton Larkings and Patrick Keating - medalled in their categories with others, including Indy Griffiths – supported by her employer, Mona Vale print and sign business Style Communications and sponsored by supplier group Visual Connections – achieving a Medallion of Excellence.
Indy, who competed in the Graphic Design Technology Category, is the first graphic designer to be sponsored by Visual Connections.
Indy Griffiths during competition in Kazan, Russia
“We are strong supporters of vocational education and training, and are committed to helping young people gain the skills, knowledge and experience they need to build successful careers in our sector,” says Peter Harper, CEO of Visual Connections.
“We often sponsor young print or sign apprentices to participate in WorldSkills Championships but there’s nothing more fundamental to our industry than design. Indy is already proving an asset to our industry and we’ve been delighted to sponsor her. We’re so proud of her achievements, and those of her fellow Skillaroos.”
Indy celebrates after the event
After a farewell from friends, family and supporters, the team participated in a resilience-building workshop before their departure, which saw them travel to Kazan via Moscow, where a short stopover saw the team meet Australian Ambassador to Russia, Graeme Meehan.
An inspiring opening ceremony in Kazan the night before competition at the Kazan Expo International Exhibition Centre set the stage for the intense, three-day event.
“The Skillaroos rose to the occasion and displayed great acts of comradery and sportsmanship,” said Visual Connections in a statement. “A monumental effort was presented by the entire team, which included a large volunteer workforce from across Australia, culminating in the outstanding achievement of an overall 8th placing.”
Brigitte Collins WorldSkills Australia GM, speaking from Kazan, said: “We are all very impressed with the performance of the team, they showcased the power of excellence and demonstrated the strength of vocational education and training in Australia.
“Our internationally recognised experts and volunteers demonstrated once again, their capability and dedication. The Skillaroos, Team Australia and the volunteer workforce should all feel very proud of what they accomplished here in Kazan, Russia.”
The impressive Kazan Arena Stadium, which also hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup
(Images supplied by: TAFE NSW & WorldSkills International)