Team camp prepares for Lyon

Alex Arnold from Whites Refrigeration

WorldSkills NZ team bound for Lyon — Left to right: Michael Hey, Michael Naus, Neill Adkins, Jack Butler, Bryce Arnold, Elliott Farnan and Carl Rankin

13 March 2024

The WorldSkills NZ team is stoked to be on their way to represent New Zealand at Lyon, France, in September.

The WorldSkills International Competition is like the Olympic Games,” says Sally Gray, Operations Coordinator at WorldSkills NZ. “Each nation will be announced, the teams march in wearing their formal uniforms, and someone is carrying the New Zealand flag. How they carry themselves is important too.”

Sally has just attended her eighth WorldSkills New Zealand team camp. The March weekend get-together is an essential part for preparing young competitors to take their place on the world stage – specifically for the WorldSkills International Competition stage in France, later this year.

This year, two competitors, Elliott Farnan (20) competing in Aircraft Maintenance, and Jack Butler (20) competing in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, are heading to Lyon in September. Elliott works at AirNZ and trains through ServiceIQ. Jack is working for Active Refrigeration in New Plymouth and is training through Competenz. Alongside the pair, will be two industry experts: Jeroen Hattink (Training and Trainee Support Leader working in Organisational Development at AirNZ) and Neill Adkins (Service Manager at Excel Refrigeration and Airconditioning Manawatu Ltd).

The international competition environment is something new for all four. Jeroen has judged at regional and national WorldSkills competitions, but judging at an international competition will be a new step up. For Jack and Neill, they are making history – being the first ever competitor and expert/judge from the Refrigeration and Airconditioning Skill to represent New Zealand.
Sally says the weekend camp at Blenheim has been a chance to get to know each other.

“It’s been fun team building activities and getting to know more about what WorldSkills is about so everyone understands what they are getting themselves in for. The experts and competitors discussed their training plans and developed ‘what’s going to happen and when’, and they heard from Michael Naus, the new WorldSkills NZ Technical Delegate about what to expect when they head to Lyon.”
Michael Naus has many international competitions under his belt as Chief Expert for Aircraft Maintenance and spent a wintry week in Lyon at the end of January getting an overview of the venue and organisation.

The team camp has been hosted by the RNZAF Woodbourne Airforce Base which provided catering, accommodation, venue access to the rooms. “It has been brilliant,” says Sally.

A final team camp “to get down to the brass tacks” will be held shortly before the team departs in September.