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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Simon McCarthy

Charlestown tradie to try his mettle

Charlestown auto-electrical apprentice Luke Callaway is a candidate for WorldSkills 2023.

A 22-year-old apprentice auto-electrician from Charlestown is one of six Motor Traders Association of NSW apprentices competing at the WorldSkills national championships.

Regular readers may recall Hunter nurses Neave O'Reilly and Katerina McNally are also bound for the same competition in Victoria on August 17, and represent the first cohort of nursing trainees to contest the showcase of vocational skills.

The winners of the national competition, which includes more than 500 vocational students from around the country competing to find the best vocational trainees Australia has to offer in a three-day contest, will go on to the international competition to test their mettle against 75 other participating nations.

Luke Callaway of Charlestown has found himself a contender in this year's WorldSkills round after taking an early career shift.

After losing interest in his earlier engineering and science study, Mr Callaway transitioned into automotive and electrical study and said from there "everything fell into place".

"There was a moment in my life when I was like 'I'm not liking what I'm doing and can't see a future'," he said.

"I spoke to people and had a massive, massive passion for working on cars and working on electricals. I build and repair computers as a hobby.

"So yeah, I put my ad on Seek and searched for a month or two and had a business pick me up. I did that and really enjoyed it, right up my alley and just fell into place.

"It's obviously a daunting process and never easy but it's the risk that you need to take and the reward is very much worth it.

"My life has just ramped up since doing this; I'm healthier and I enjoy what I'm doing. I couldn't see where I would be in my life otherwise."

Mr Callaway has progressed to the national WorldSkills competition from a pool of thousands of other students, trainees and apprentices.

WorldSkills provides an opportunity for Australia's trainees and apprentices across various industries to test their skills and knowledge against their peers.

Held every two years, the National Championships is the biggest trades and skills competition in the country, with the 2023 event featuring more than 50 competitions.

The three-day competition will take place from August 17 to 19 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Each competitor secured their place after winning their respective WorldSkills regional competitions.

Successful medalists from the national championships will be invited to join the 'Skills Squad' offering the chance to travel to the WorldSkills International Competition, taking place in Lyon, France in 2024.

The Motor Traders' Association of NSW is one of Australia's largest state-based industry associations, representing owners and business principals in the NSW automotive industry.

Chip in to inspire kids for Book Week 2023

Book Week kicks off again on August 19, continuing a near 80-year tradition of encouraging children and young adults to a lifetime of reading.

The week-long national event began back in 1945 when children's literature was scarce around the country and few writers touched the genre.

The week was intended to shine a light on the market for young readers and has since exploded into a national phenomenon.

This year's theme, 'read, grow and inspire' is focused on how literature has the capacity to develop a child's inner world and how it can plant the seed of inspiration for them to express their own creativity.

This year, shopping giant Big W has partnered with the Australian Numeracy and Literacy Foundation in support of its Breakfast Library program, delivering books and healthy breakfasts to children and families in marginalised communities.

The program is currently offered in 30 schools in under-served communities across the country, including on the Mid North Coast, and supports more than 2800 students per week with healthy breakfasts, alongside reading sessions enjoyed either independently or with an educator or parent, and a book to take home to further develop literacy skills and build home libraries.

Until September 2, shoppers with purchases over $5 will be able to round up their total to support the expansion of the Breakfast Library program.

A $2 donation will fund a child's participation in the program with breakfast at school and a fortnightly book to take home.

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