WorldSkills Uk: Competitions Are Essential to Apprenticeships

WorldSkills Uk: Competitions Are Essential to Apprenticeships

Jordan Jeffers and Peter Walters, who will be representing the UK in Painting and Decorating at EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016, explain why skills competitions should be an essential part of any apprenticeship programme.

You could be forgiven for thinking that there was only one major European Competition this year, the Euros, but for Jordan Jeffers and his trainer Peter Walters it has always been about EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016.

Having recently completed his Level 3 Apprenticeship in Painting and Decorating, Jordan, 21, from Portadown in Northern Ireland is determined to outshine the football teams and go for gold at Europe’s largest skills competition.
Jordan says:

“I know that EuroSkills will be tough but I have my game plan. I’m spending every spare minute training and I have also been practising techniques to help keep me focused throughout the 22 hours of competition.”

However Jordan, who trained at Southern Regional College, is determined to highlight that skills competitions should not be seen as an ‘added extra’ for apprentices but instead should form part of their training programme.

Having first competed in SkillBuild Northern Ireland before progressing to the WorldSkills UK Finals, which are held at The Skills Show, Jordan says he is amazed by how much his career has benefited as a result of the competitions.

He says: “Winning medals gave me the confidence to set up my own business. Competing not only allowed me to build on my technical ability but it also gave me the opportunity to practise things like time management, working under pressure and presentation skills, all of which I use in my job on a daily basis.”

Jordan adds: “I know I have won contracts off the back of my competition achievements because customers want to know their work will be carried out to the highest standards.”

It is this focus on employability skills which Peter, a lecturer in Painting and Decorating at Stoke-on-Trent College, believes shows the true worth of skills competitions.

Having been the WorldSkills UK Expert for Painting and Decorating since 2008, Peter has seen first-hand how competitions have accelerated the careers of apprentices.

During the EuroSkills Competition, Jordan will be required to complete a number of tasks against the clock. These include: the wallpaper challenge, lettering design, colour mixing and painting an image of the famous Gothenburg Opera House.

8064911794_bacf71b45e_cThere will also be a task that will only be revealed to Jordan and the other competitors the day before they have to complete it, highlighting the competition is a real test of skill level.

To help prepare Jordan for the Competition, Peter has hosted public training sessions both at Stoke-on-Trent College and Southern Regional College. Peter explains: “Inviting students to watch Jordan shows just how far an apprenticeship can take them, raising their career aspirations.”

Jordan, who is supported in his training by Crown Paints, is concentrating on the EuroSkills Competition but also hopes to qualify for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi next year.

He says: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my involvement in competitions, I want all young people to have the same opportunities I’ve had and that’s why I strongly believe the activity should be included in all apprenticeship programmes.”

EuroSkills takes place from 1 to 3 December in Gothenburg, Sweden. For more information please visit

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