Rotary in action: Rotary backs skills competitors

We're behind you: Members of the Rotary Club of Wollongong farewell Troy Everett, International Chief Expert in Bricklaying, and Brett McPaul, the Illawarra's 'Man of Steel' competitor in Metal Construction.
We're behind you: Members of the Rotary Club of Wollongong farewell Troy Everett, International Chief Expert in Bricklaying, and Brett McPaul, the Illawarra's 'Man of Steel' competitor in Metal Construction.

The Rotary Club of Wollongong has celebrated the selection of two of our local representatives for the 44th International WorldSkills Competition, known as the Trade Olympics, in Abu Dhabi.

Troy Everett, Head Teacher: Civil Engineering and Surveying at TAFE Illawarra was chosen by his colleagues throughout the Worldskills World as the Chief Expert in Bricklaying.

Troy, who is fondly known as “Troy the Brickie”, is a real mentor and role model for all who have the opportunity to share their trade experience with him at the TAFE Wollongong Campus.  Troy commits his own time and takes leave to attend these competitions.  This is his sixth at an international level.

In addition, Troy has been part of the journey of our two representatives from the Illawarra – Brett McPaul, who will be competing in the Metal Construction category, and Louise Azzopardi, Heavy Plant, not only the first for Australia but also a young woman in a non-traditional trade.  Both are now very well prepared and ready to compete.

To prepare for this international competition, Brett, our local “Man of Steel”, shared with those present at the RC of Wollongong meeting on Wednesday morning last, how this has been two years of dedication and passion for him and his trainer. 

Brett, at just 21, has been working diligently on building projects that have been used in past international and national competitions.  He will be competing over four days against competitors from countries all over the world who train exclusively for this event whilst our young competitors must work and fit their training in around their full-time jobs and commitments.  

It costs $30,000 for each competitor to attend with funding coming from sponsorship and some from the Australian Government.

The Australian team comprises 18 young “Skillaroos”, and Brett is the third Skillaroo that the Rotary Club of Wollongong has supported over the last six years.

Recently, the local Regional competition across the range of trades was.  This begins the journey, if successful, to the National competition and then the International Competition. 

After the Regional Competition, local Rotary Clubs invite, select and sponsor these young tradies to attend their Annual Rotary Leadership Awards – RYLA –  a week-long leadership program held in January every year.    RYLA is valued by WorldSkills as part of the preparation for these young people.

RYLA nominations are now open, young people between the ages of 18 to 24 are encouraged to contact their local Rotary Club and apply, contact Dot Hennessy on 0412 120 314 or dothennessy@gmail.com