Celebrating the skills of our region

National Skills Week celebrations at TAFE Illawarra

A backyard blitz, a Taste of TAFE for school students and ‘tradie’ Olympians in training – it’s all part of TAFE NSW Illawarra’s week-long celebration of National Skills Week, 29 August to 4 September.

Now in its sixth year, National Skills Week will again highlight the talents, the skills, the career pathways and the value of apprentices and trainees across Australia. The week is dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning.

Belinda Mackinnon, TAFE NSW Illawarra’s Relieving Institute Director, says: “This week is our opportunity to highlight the important role skills development plays in changing lives and building our economy.

“We’re celebrating with events which showcase not only the talent of our students and graduates, but also give the public a chance to explore where vocational education and training can take them.

“Our landscape students are showing how their skills can support local organisations, as they makeover one of the Bulli Community Preschool’s outdoor play areas. They have donated their time and skills as an auction prize for a recent Illawarra Cancer Carers fundraising event.

“We have Year 11 and 12 High School students coming along to our Wollongong and Shellharbour campuses to get a Taste of TAFE. This event allows students to explore the range of career pathways on offer when you train with TAFE NSW – and experience hands-on activities, speak with teachers and industry organisations,” says Ms Mackinnon.

"We also have some of our Illawarra competitors training for the WorldSkills Australia National Competition. It’s the ‘tradies Olympics’ and represents the very best of skills and vocational training for Australia and across the world.”

Skills Week builds excitement for local WorldSkills competitors

The National Skills Week celebrations bring extra meaning to Wollongong local Timothy Mitchell, an apprentice Fitter who’s training to represent the Illawarra in the Engineering Team Challenge at the WorldSkills Australia National Competition in Melbourne this October.

“This is my first-ever time competing at the national level. I'll be competing with my team mate, who is a welder, to build an entire crane from scratch using raw materials within 18 hours.

“This involves the two of us working together, using our skills in metal fabrication, welding and machining and fitting, to complete the challenge.

“I’ve been training for six months, practicing manufacturing the various parts we’ll need to build the crane.”

Timothy says training during National Skills Week frames the significance of the competition ahead of him.

“Celebrations like National Skills Week and competitions such as WorldSkills are really important for raising the profile of vocational skills – and the role apprentices play in creating a highly skilled workforce.”

Show us your #TAFESkills on social media for National Skills Week

A ‘Show us your #TAFESkills’ social media competition is also running on TAFE NSW Illawarra’s social media channels. You can jump on and post a picture that showcases the skills learnt at TAFE for the chance to win a prize. You can find more information on the competition information page.

Events taking place across TAFE Illawarra






Monday 29 August and Tuesday 30 August


7am to 1pm



Wollongong campus, Building W4


Mittagong Gumnut Patisserie pastry chef, Troy Hindmarch, is gearing up for one of the biggest challenges of his career when he represents the Illawarra at the WorldSkills Australia National Competition in Melbourne this October.

Troy will be undertaking an intense, two-day training program which simulates the tough, time-pressured conditions he’ll face in the competiton – baking a range of colourful and tasty treats.


Wednesday 31 August


10am to 12.30pm


Wollongong and Shellharbour campuses, various locations



Year 11 and 12 students trying their hand at a range of career areas, including Bricklaying, Digital Media, Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Community Services and more.


Wednesday 31 August





Moruya Golf Club



Apprenticeship and Traineeship Information Evening.


Thursday 1 September


Tbc – by booking only


Bulli Community Preschool




Bulli Community Preschool backyard blitz pre-makeover site visit. Students will visit the site to plan how the sandpit, raised deck seating area, recycled tyre wall, interactive social spaces and use of native Australian plants will come to life.


Thursday 1 September



12pm - 1pm


Wollongong Campus,

Outside N Block



FREE sausage sizzle for staff and students.


Friday 2 September



9am to 4pm


Wollongong campus, Building E and M


Albion Park’s Tim Mitchell is training to represent the Illawarra region in the Engineering Team Challenge at the WorldSkills Australia National Competition in Melbourne in October.

Tim will be undertaking an intensive training session which will replicate the tough competition conditions he will face when he takes on the country’s best engineers later in the year.