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20 April 2016

Meet Gary Condon of the WorldSkills Champion Trust

Waterford, Ireland is not only the hometown of world renowned Waterford Crystal, but is also the hometown of WorldSkills Champion Gary Condon. Both have achieved international recognition as the best in their field, setting a high bar for others pursuing that level of excellence.

While growing up in the small town in Ireland, Gary watched his father apply the principles of taking chances, working hard, and persevering as he built his own successful construction company. “My father is the person I look up to the most, and whenever I feel down I always call him for inspiration and motivation,” explained Gary. 

When Gary heard about the opportunity to compete in a local IrelandSkills competition, in Plastering and Drywall Systems, he took a chance and participated. Applying the principles he learnt from his father, Gary committed to mastering his skills. This in turn earned him a series of gold medals, and eventually a position on Team Ireland at WorldSkills London 2011. He competed in London alongside ten other Competitors from around the world, where they showcased their skills to thousands. “I did not notice one of the 100,000 people that passed me as I competed at WorldSkills,” noted Gary.

The focus and commitment Gary applied to his professional development, resulted not only in success at the top of the podium in his home country, but also at WorldSkills London 2011. “I took a chance at the national competition and found success. I took a chance and competed in WorldSkills and found success,” explained Gary. After years of preparation, when his country’s name appeared on the screen at the Closing Ceremony, Gary said “I burst into tears, racing to the stage with the Irish flag draped around me.”

When he returned to Ireland, Gary’s talents would result in him being presented with an opportunity that would change his life. Saint-Gobain contacted him with a job opportunity in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Saint-Gobain is known for their support of developing skilled talent as a WorldSkills Global Industry Partner and the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of construction products. This made the decision to move to a new country an easy one for Gary, and four years later he continues to work with Saint-Gobain as the Lead Systems Demonstrator.

Moving to the UAE has presented Gary with tremendous professional and personal opportunities. In addition to travelling throughout the middle east, he supports EmiratesSkills to train local plastering and drywall students, and has hosted Try-a-Skills to encourage students to try skills. “After hosting the Try-a-Skill stand it brought back memories from when I was a competitor, and made me appreciate the difference WorldSkills has made on my life,” explained Gary. “I want to spread the word of WorldSkills and my story, so someone else’s life can be changed the way mine was.”

Although now living far away from his family in Ireland, Gary continues to draw upon their encouragement as he takes on new challenges, but has also found a new family to be inspired by, “WorldSkills is a movement which aims to recognize young adults who are talented and tests their abilities in competitions. WorldSkills aims to bring skills to developing countries to improve the way of life. WorldSkills is a family,” explained Gary.

Now as a representative on WorldSkills Champions Trust, Gary is excited to connect with Champions from around the world, and spread the word about WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.