Apprentice competitions: A “warm-up” for EuroSkills
They are the springboard to a successful career: the regional apprentice competitions, which take place in all Provinces of Austria, pave the way to the podium for the winners of international competitions. This blog post provides some insights into how such competitions work and what tasks the competing apprentices are set.
Anyone who has ever competed at EuroSkills or WorldSkills knows that the road to get there can be long and hard, with many hours of training and other preparations for the big day. It all starts with the yearly apprentice competitions, which are held in all Austrian Provinces and where young, aspiring skilled workers can put their performance and talents to the test. But what actually happens at such events? How can you take part, and what are the entry requirements?
Apprentices can usually take part from the first year of their training, though competitions for some trades or skills are only open to entrants from the second year onwards. Of course, all competitors require their employers’ consent and those under the age of eighteen also need permission from their parents. A regional apprentice competition requires entrants to accomplish practical tasks, which are identical for everyone competing in the same skill or trade and in the same year of apprenticeship. Depending on the Province where the competition is held, the competitors may also be required to complete a small theoretical task. The practical element requires competitors to create a piece of work from a drawing or as instructed in the competition assignment. The assignment must be designed so that it can be completed within a given period of time – this is why a competition can last for to six hours, depending on the skill or trade.
Apprentice competitions are the springboard to a successful career – and also to the higher-level competitions such as AustrianSkills, EuroSkills or WorldSkills.
Prospective hairdressers, for instance, were required to perform the following two tasks during this year’s regional competition for third-year apprentices: first they were asked to do a classic men’s haircut with fade and blow-dry within 45 minutes, followed by an evening make-up for ladies with a corresponding updo hairstyle. The judges assessed the standard of the cutting and styling, the creativity, method, colour harmony and overall impression. A number of different tasks also awaited the apprentices taking part in the competitions for floristry apprentices in the Province of Styria in April. They were expected to create no fewer than five different arrangements, including a bridal bouquet and a table decoration for two diners.
Once all the requirements have been met, the judges award their scores. They assess the expertise with which the tasks are completed within the given time and award marks to each participant. The maximum number of marks that can be scored varies depending on the skill or trade and on the Province concerned. The grand prizegiving is of course the culmination of the event. Medals are awarded to the three highest-scoring competitors in each skill or trade and year of apprenticeship, while all participants of course receive a certificate.
Anyone who is interested in taking part in an apprentice competition and putting their skills to the test should first attend one of the various competitions so that they can see for themselves what to expect. To find out when the apprentice competitions are held, please contact the professional specialist organisations representing your skill or trade in your Province.
For more dates and to find out more, you can also check out our We-are-Skills app!
Photo credit: Foto Neumayr