The Motor Traders’ Association of NSW’s (MTA NSW) top apprentices will compete in the inaugural WorldSkills Regional Championships for a chance to compete at the national championships next year.
On 28 November 2022, more than 15 apprentices will attend the regional event at the Axalta Training Centre in Marsden Park, where they will battle one another in a series of challenges across disciplines including spray painting, buffing, and design layout.
“The WorldSkills competition provides a key opportunity for recognising emerging talent in our industry,” said MTA NSW CEO Stavros Yallouridis.
“Not only is WorldSkills a chance to demonstrate the high quality of our training, it’s also an opportunity for our organisation to give back and invest in the future careers of our talented trainees.”
Twenty-year-old spray painter Neha Singh was selected from a pool of more than 250 hopefuls to take part in the regional competition.
“I’m massively excited and so blessed to have this opportunity, especially as a first year because not that many first years get this opportunity, so I feel very grateful to have been selected and to have people recognise my potential,” said Singh.
As one of only two women competing in the regional event, Singh said she hoped it would encourage more women to join the industry.
Singh runs a TikTok page with almost 120,000 followers and says she ‘gets lots of questions from men and women’ about how she got into painting, and regularly posts how-to videos about resprays while she’s at work.
“I don’t want to generalise, but some people think that females might not do as well, so it’s good to see other women in the industry and to be able to prove some of those people wrong,” she said.
“I always hear that women have a better eye for colour matching and greater attention to details, which is a very big part of this trade,” said Singh.
Ian Price, General Manager RTO at MTA NSW, hopes the event will also encourage school leavers to consider a career in the automotive sector.
“It’s so important for us to promote and raise the profile of the automotive sector, especially right now amid the sweeping transformation of our industry as electric vehicles begin to take centre stage and new skillsets are required to service them,” he said.
“In fact, the mechanics of the future will no longer be thought of as having grease on their hands. Instead, they’ll be known as vehicle ‘technicians’ and will have far more technical skillsets than what has previously been required to work on petrol vehicles.”
The WorldSkills regional competition is held every two years and features more than 500 events across 34 regions in Australia. Competitions test the skills and knowledge of more than 4000 apprentices, trainees and students, who each have the chance to win gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Successful entrants are selected for the national championships held at the Melbourne Conference & Exhibition Centre in September 2023. Successful entrants will be invited to join the Skills Squad, offering them the chance to compete internationally.
To enter the regional competition, entrants must be undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship, undertaking studies towards a qualification at an RTO, TAFE or university, or have completed a relevant qualification at an RTO, TAFE or university.