By Sharnye Farrell Nearly 500 of Australia’s top apprentices competed in more than 46 competitions at National WorldSkills Australia at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. Leisha Young, regional winner in Restaurant Services, competed on day two of the competition in Fine Dining, where she served four guests displaying a variety of service skills. “It’s very nerve wracking, little bit pumped as well, looking forward to it, I think I’m pretty well prepared for this service, with all the training from the last couple of months I think this should go pretty well,” said Leisha. Over the three days of Workskills, participants from around Australia competed in skill challenges and speed tests within their industry. Their work was judged on the production of the required skill, with some trades such as floristry and fashion technology allowing for artistic flair. Leslie Simpson, former WorldSkills’ judge and team leader for 23 Sydney apprentices, supported and guided them throughout the many challenges both mental and physical they faced during the competition and judging. “It isn’t always the best academic that wins, it’s the planner, the best person who can think under pressure,” said Leslie. Leslie believes that competitions are developing Australia’s skill sets and encouraging apprentices to expand their skill knowledge and set new goals. Throughout the event competitors were supported and encouraged by a full team of leaders and mentors to help them finish a test. National winners will be offered a place in the ‘Team Australia Skillaroo’ as well as the chance to compete in the international skills competition, taking place in Brazil in 2015. This year, alongside the WorldSkills competition, Skills West Australia held informative and interactive booths for competition visitors to experience the different skills across trade areas.