TAFE NSW Wollongbar Hairdressing student Libby Wyatt is sharpening her scissors and her skills in preparation to go head-to-head with her industry peers in Australia's largest vocational education competition next month.
Libby is one of eight TAFE NSW students from the Northern Rivers region who will compete in the WorldSkills Australia 2023 National Championships in August.
WorldSkills hosts regional, national and international competitions which celebrate excellence and showcase vocational educational and training. Winners from the National Championships are in the running to be selected for the Australian Skillaroos team to compete against more than 75 countries. The international championships have run every two years since 1950.
More than 500 vocational students will compete in Melbourne over three days with their eye on the gold medal and a chance to represent Australia on the world stage in France next year. Libby, 19, said that her anticipation was building after months of mentorship by her TAFE NSW teacher and that she wasn’t shy of hard work to achieve her goals, recently buying her first home.
“Even though I finished my Certificate III in Hairdressing last year, I’ve continued to work hard with my TAFE NSW mentor and doing extra work in the salon in preparation for the National Championships,” she said.
“Buying a house is something young people are told is an impossible dream, but anything is possible. You have to put in the hard work, so enjoying what you do is important. TAFE NSW has given me the skills and qualifications to get a job I absolutely love and now I get to showcase my passion on the national stage – it's a dream come true.
“My long-term goal is to have my own salon, but for now I want to learn as much as I can about products, technology, and trends. The WorldSkills experience through TAFE NSW has taught me so many additional technical skills, like barbering and hair extensions. I get to be creative and be myself.”
Libby acknowledged the WorldSkills 2023 National Championships would be tough, but said she is up for the challenge.
“I’m a very competitive person. I danced competitively all through school and this has flowed into hairdressing – I’m determined to be the best at what I do. I won’t ever get this chance again, so I’m going to give it my all,” she said.
TAFE NSW Executive Director Education and Skills North, Jason Darney, said the region’s eight TAFE NSW finalists are representing some of the most in-demand industries in the area.
“I’m proud to say Northern NSW is home to future leaders in industries crying out for more skilled workers, from health to hairdressing, and everything in between,” he said.
“The ultimate goal for Libby will be to win a gold medal, which will earn her a place on the Australian Skillaroos team to compete with the world’s best at the 47th WorldSkills International Competition finals to be held in France in 2024.
“WorldSkills competitions provide TAFE NSW learners with amazing, and potentially life-changing learning opportunities in an exciting, interactive, and engaging environment.
"Participants learn important life-long skills that will not only help them succeed individually but will help deliver a highly skilled workforce.”
The WorldSkills Australia 2023 National Championships will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17-19 August.
Media contact: Emily Graham, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 02 7921 3756.