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Gold! Hunter TAFE NSW students dominate WorldSkills National Championships

TAFE NSW Newcastle

Gold! Hunter TAFE NSW students dominate WorldSkills National Championships

Two TAFE NSW Newcastle students have claimed the gold and bronze medals in front of hundreds of their peers from across the country, at the WorldSkills Australia 2023 National Championships Closing Ceremony in Melbourne on Sunday.

Neave O’Reilly claimed gold for her nursing skills at the prestigious awards after competing in the Health and Social Care category of Australia’s largest skills competition hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre last week from Thursday to Saturday. This is the first time health care has been included in the competition.

The TAFE NSW Diploma of Nursing student said it was an honour to be recognised as one of the best emerging heath care practitioners in Australia.

"I was certain I was not going to achieve the gold so when I did win, I was in absolute shock! It felt very surreal to go and collect the medal alongside the other winners on stage. I feel much more confident in myself after the competition. 

Neave said her TAFE NSW teachers were instrumental to her success at WorldSkills.

“I do not believe I would have the same amount of confidence in my own knowledge without my TAFE NSW mentors and teachers who have supported me through the Diploma, as well as through Worldskills.” 

Neave’s TAFE NSW classmate, Katerina McNally, took the bronze medal in the same category at the weekend, saying the competition was a close one.

“The competition was tough as we were tested on skills we don’t necessarily use every day. I really had to trust my gut and just go for it. 

“When they called my name for the bronze medal, it was a surreal feeling. I’m so stoked to have represented the Hunter at the national level – and to have beaten Queensland! 

“We couldn’t have done it without our TAFE NSW mentors, and to them I want to say a big thank you.”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher Allied Health and Nursing, Lynelle Jenkinson, who also acted as Deputy Chief Judge at the Championships, said Neave and Katerina made the Hunter region proud. 

“The women competed so well and I’m incredibly proud of them. They displayed resilience, procedural skills and communication – all the hallmarks of an excellent nurse.” 

TAFE NSW Team Leader and WorldSkills Australia Experts Faculty Associate Member, Troy Everett said TAFE NSW students are in high demand because of the quality of their education and ability to hit the ground running in the workplace. 

“Our students winning these awards demonstrate what is on offer for students if they choose a TAFE education,” Mr Everett said. 

Neave is now eligible for consideration for the Australian Skillaroos team, which will compete alongside the world’s best at the WorldSkills International Competition finals to be held in France in 2024. 

Media contact: Emily Graham, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7921 3756.