Meet the TAFE NSW Skillaroos representing Australian skills training on the world stage


Nine TAFE NSW students will represent Australian skills training on the world stage at the WorldSkills International Championships in France this year.

Since 1950, the WorldSkills International Championships have united vocational apprentices and trainees from around the world to compete in their respective disciplines.

Competitions are designed by industry and skills experts who assess an individual’s knowledge, practical competence, and employability skills against a set of strict criteria.

The students who make up part of the Australian team, known as the Skillaroos, will travel to France in September where they will test their skills against competitors from more than 75 countries.

The TAFE NSW Skillaroo team members are at the top of their training in disciplines such as:

  • automotive technology
  • bakery
  • beauty therapy
  • bricklaying
  • construction metal work
  • hairdressing
  • health and social care
  • industrial mechanics
  • welding.

Like the Olympics, WorldSkills Australia competition activity begins at the grassroots level, in competitions held in 1 of 34 regions around Australia. Competitors progress competing at national and international levels, in front of over 200,000 people.

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said:

“The WorldSkills International Championships will provide these TAFE NSW students, all hailing from regional areas, with amazing and potentially life-changing learning opportunities.

“Congratulations and good luck to our TAFE NSW competitors. Their selection for the Australian team speaks volumes of their dedication to their course and the high-quality support from their TAFE NSW teachers.

“TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest education and training provider. For those considering a skills-based career, its training spans around 260 occupations across 85 industry sectors.”

WorldSkills Australia CEO, Trevor Schwenke said:

“Congratulations to every Skillaroo on their selection. We’re incredibly excited to be sending our biggest team ever to Lyon and look forward to the fierce but friendly competition that the International Competition brings.

“The calibre of talent in this team is second to none. Their skills, positive attitude, and professionalism is inspiring, and we wish them all the best when they head to France and fly the flag for Aussie skills.”

“We have team members who have made sacrifices in their personal lives and had to overcome adversity to be crowned the best in their skill and profession. As hopeful as we are that the team will bring home gold, they’re already winners.”

2024 WorldSkills International TAFE NSW competitors

Name – Hannah Gerritsen

Location – Towradgi, NSW

Skills area – Hairdressing

Hannah’s approach to hairdressing is rooted in genuine passion and practical experience. This motivation and desire to learn has been integral to her development as a stylist.

The support of her employer, alongside Janelle, her TAFE NSW teacher, has been crucial to Hannah’s professional journey. Their mentorship extended beyond professional advice, embodying an unwavering belief in her potential.

Name – Ethan Everett

Location – Wollongong, NSW

Skills area – Bricklaying

Ethan’s connection to bricklaying runs deep; a craft passed down from his father, a seasoned WorldSkills judge and volunteer. This legacy sparked Ethan’s own passion in the trade, and since he first set foot on a job site four years ago, he’s been laying the foundation for a promising career.

Ethan’s drive to excel in his trade was evident when he won the National competition. Taking home gold made his demanding work schedule and rigorous competition training worth it.

Name – Ross Colquhoun

Location – Coffs Harbour, NSW

Skills area – Automotive Technology

Ross’s journey in automotive technology began with a TAFE NSW course that turned out to be an eye-opener, leading him to pursue a full-time apprenticeship and, later, to the competitive stage of WorldSkills. His ambition is fuelled by a desire to push his limits and to soak in as much knowledge about his industry as possible. But for Ross, it’s also about learning more about himself in the process.

Name – Lestatt Hammond-Hurst

Location – Glenreagh, NSW

Skills area – Bakery

For as long as he can remember, Lestatt has loved being in the kitchen. Over time he found his niche in baking – the precision required to produce a quality and consistent product really resonating with him. The young baker is now particularly excited to be heading to the spiritual homeland of the baked treat, France, to take on and learn from the world’s best bakers.

Name – Jasmine Cecchini

Location – Wagga Wagga, NSW

Skills area – Beauty Therapy

Jasmine’s journey in beauty therapy, deeply rooted in family influence and personal ambition, began when she was 19 years old, apprenticing in her mother’s salon. This early immersion in the world of beauty therapy provided Jasmine not only with valuable hands-on experience but also a strong foundation in the field.

Jasmine has shown remarkable dedication to her craft, completing her apprenticeship by the age of 21 and winning gold at the WorldSkills Australia Nationals.

Name – Joseph Cramp

Location – Crookwell, NSW

Skills area – Construction Metal Work

Growing up with a mechanic father and working with steel while at school, Joseph Cramp’s foray into the field of construction steel work was a natural progression. His choice to specialise in welding, despite being the only welder in his family, demonstrates his independence and affinity for the trade.

Joseph’s TAFE NSW teacher played a pivotal role in his career path, encouraging him to participate in WorldSkills, the decision has proven to be transformative for Joseph, thanks to the rapid opportunities for growth and skill development the program has offered.

Name – Neave Gerritsen

Location – Fassifern, NSW

Skills area – Health and Social Care

It was during Neve’s foundational studies for her Diploma when her TAFE NSW Head Teacher recognised her potential and encouraged her to participate in the WorldSkills Regional competition.

Currently, Neave is fully immersed in the nursing field, working full-time while continuing her training. She finds her professional work and training complement each other, creating a seamless balance despite the inherent challenges of shift work.

Name – Michael Bowen

Location – Bomaderry, NSW

Skills area – Industrial Mechanics

Michael Bowen’s first encounter with the world of Industrial Mechanics occurred during a TAFE NSW open day. From that moment, Michael threw himself into the field and never looked back.

Forgoing traditional schooling in favour of home education, Michael’s learning was tailored to his skills and interests – in particular, hands-on experience. This self-directed educational route may have been somewhat unconventional, but it equipped him with a keen understanding of mechanical systems and a clear vision for his professional trajectory.

Name – Harrison Field

Location – Bathurst, NSW

Skills area – Welding

Growing up, Harrison could always be found making ad-hoc sculptures and structures with whatever materials he could get his hands on. So, when Harrison left school at the end of year 10 to begin his training as a metal fabricator, his friends and family knew it would be a great fit and one he’d thrive in.

Since starting down his career path, Harrison has already notched up several achievements, including winning Gold at the 2023 Nationals and being named Young Tradesperson of the Year at the 2023 New South Wales and ACT Welding Excellence Awards.

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