Blogs (Career Inspiration Articles)

The Skillaroos are back

With the team back from the 45th WorldSkills International Championships in Kazan, Russia, we hand the keyboard over to medalist Maxine Colligan.

The Skillaroos are back

Crowds of 250,000 people came to watch talented contestants from 66 counties compete. Maxine picked up three awards: silver in ‘sustainability’; third place overall for 'car painting'; Best in Nation Award for leading the Australian team's results.

Maxine has already received plenty of media attention, so we thought it was time she spoke for herself.

Being Maxine, she mainly says ‘thanks’ to others. Anyway, over to you, Maxine …

What a fantastic and life-changing experience!

Spending the last two weeks in Kazan, Russia, to compete for the 45th International WorldSkills Competition has opened my eyes as to what is really possible with vocational education and training. Picking up a trade just after high school was hands down the best decision I’ve made in my life so far. I have learnt so many things and improved my skills to a level that I never would have thought possible.

From being the shy and unsociable girl in high school to the woman I am today, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of a few people.

Cheers to the employer

Mark Reid, my current employer. Thank you for giving me that chance on that freezing cold and windy night at the NRMA AutoPath event. At the time, I had spent months trying to find an apprenticeship in the field but after knowing you for 10 minutes, you had believed in me enough to give me a job first thing Monday morning.

To everyone at RPM Milperra for putting up with all my good days and bad days. You guys have been so patient with me making all the mistakes that I do so thank you.

Thanks to Carl and Jim!

To my TAFE NSW teacher and Glasurit trainer, Carl and Jim. You two have been with me since day one of my apprenticeship, helping me out with technical information and even teaching me how to block bog properly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t be half the painter I am today if it weren’t for you two.

Thank you, Brad!

Thank you to Brad (WorldSkills expert Bradley Franklin, Deputy Chief Expert in Car Painting). You have pushed me to my limits when it came to training because you knew that I was capable of that little bit more each time. Thank you for dedicating your time outside of work and personal hours to me and this industry. Your hard work doesn’t go unappreciated.

And WorldSkills

Thank you to WorldSkills Australia for the experience of a lifetime! The team of people behind the scenes, that help us to be the young individuals that we are, dedicate so much time to this organisation and I couldn’t be any more thankful. From organising uniforms and flights to putting together information booklets and helping us with media requests, thank you from all of us.

And to the industry

Thank you to our industry partners and sponsors, Holden and Glasurit. If it weren’t for your generosity when it came to time, materials, training methods and accessing training facilities, I wouldn’t have had such an amazing training experience.

And closer to home…

Thank you to my friends, family and Cody. Thank you for understanding how important this whole experience is to me and how much time and effort I was willing to dedicate to WorldSkills. I know it wasn’t easy to barely have me home for dinner or barely have time on the weekends to socialise but in the end, it was all worth it and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

- Maxine Colligan

And thanks from TAFE NSW

Hey Maxine, TAFE NSW thanks you! And thanks your teammates, teachers and industry partners for providing a life-changing experience.

Thank you!

Be Ambitious