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Young cloud computing whiz competes on debut national stage


Young cloud computing whiz competes on debut national stage

Zachary Youssef's countless hours of practice have earnt him Gold in the Sydney WorldSkills Cloud Computing competition.

TAFE NSW Cloud Computing graduate Zachary Youssef will compete against the nation’s best young IT talent for a chance to represent Australia in a national skills competition next month.

Zachary, 17, was selected to compete in the first National WorldSkills Championships in Cloud Computing after winning the Sydney regional competition earlier this year.

WorldSkills hosts regional, national and international competitions which celebrate excellence and showcase vocational educational and training. Winners from the Nationals 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.

The WorldSkills Australia 2023 National Championships will see more than 500 vocational students converge in Melbourne over three days with their eye on a coveted gold medal.

Zachary said his anticipation was building after years of preparation thanks to the hands-on training he received from his TAFE NSW teachers.

“Since this is the first year cloud computing has been in the WorldSkills competition, it’s extra hard for me and my fellow competitors to know what to expect, so we have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“The competition assesses our ability using a professional Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform, where each competitor needs to determine errors and fix issues in a real-life cloud computing scenario. It’s really important to have a broad understanding of issues and solutions and a strong ability to problem solve, just like cloud architects and engineers need in the real world.”

He said the decision to include cloud computing in the national competition this year reflects the growing number of opportunities for young people looking to enter the field.

“Cloud provides a totally new world of solutions for companies, so it’s a really exciting time to be joining the industry,” he said.

“When I started studying a Certificate III in Information Technology at TAFE NSW Ultimo, I was 15 years old, and even though I had some programming knowledge, the learning curve was steep. I had no idea what cloud computing was, but I’ve discovered I love it, so it was a no brainer to complete a Certificate IV and Diploma of Information Technology (Advanced Networking, Cloud Architecture). 

“My success is all thanks to the depth of knowledge my TAFE NSW teachers have shared with me over the years – in particular, my cloud computing teacher Mr Simon Kee, who taught me everything I know about cloud.”

Zachary is one of 13 students from TAFE NSW Ultimo competing in the national competition, the largest cohort from any TAFE NSW campus.

TAFE NSW Executive Director Education and Skills, Dr Raf Marcellino, said WorldSkills is Australia’s largest vocational education and excellence competition.

“The ultimate goal for Zachary will be to earn a place on the Skillaroos team representing Australia at the WorldSkills Competition in France next year."

“WorldSkills competitions provide TAFE NSW students with amazing, and potentially life-changing, learning opportunities. It creates an exciting, interactive and engaging environment for participants. They will learn important life-long skills to help them succeed individually and 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: TAFE NSW Media Centre,, 02 7920 5000​​​​.