GYMPIE bricklayer Andrew Hosking was a long way from home last month when he helped judge the Olympics of trade skills at the port city of Leipzig in Germany.
Mr Hosking was one of about 80 judges and experts in their chosen field who helped deter-mine the best tradies, hairdressers, cooks etcetera in the world at the 42nd Worldskills International Competition, attended by thousands of young apprent-ices from 40 different countries.
The 21-year-old English apprentice who won the international brick-laying competition was a world-class tradesman who would be in hot demand throughout Europe, Mr Hosking said.
"This competition sorts the sheep out from the goats. It starts at a regional level, then national, then international," he said.
Mr Hosking has had five apprentice bricklayers since starting his own Gympie business, Andrew Hosking Brick Laying, 22 years ago.
Four of his apprentices have competed in the Worldskills competition. It is through Mr Hosking's involvement that he has been invited to participate as a judge and expert in his field.
The event is held every two years and the event and planning surrounding the event is of a similar scale and grandeur to the Olympics themselves.
The trip was huge eye opener for the Gympie father and businessman.
It was the first time he had been overseas and experienced up-close the historic architecture of Europe, not to mention the food, beer and lifestyle.
"It was summer in Germany when we were there so the sun did not go down until 10pm," he said.
The Aussie team of about 300 - the Skillaroos - competed for international honours.
The 43rd Worldskills International Competition will be held in Brazil in 2015. Mr Hosking hopes to be there again.
More information at http://www.worldskills.org.
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