Team UK, an elite team of apprentices and young professionals, has triumphed at Europe’s largest skills competition, amassing a total of 9 medals at ‘the Skills Olympics’.
Their effort, during three days of the most intensive competition in the northern polish city of Gdańsk, earned praise from Skills Minister Robert Halfon.
The team, trained and mentored by WorldSkills UK, took one Gold, and two bronze medals, plus 6 Medallions for Excellence, which recognises the achievement of world class standards.
Competitors from 32 nations, exponents of 42 different skills disciplines, from coding to cooking, web development to plumbing, and digital construction, were assessed by panels of leading experts in their field.
Government and industry representatives were in attendance to benchmark UK skills against the European gold standard.
Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said:
“Congratulations to the exceptional UK competitors who showcased their skills at EuroSkills in Gdańsk. The EuroSkills competitions provide an unparalleled opportunity for gifted young people to hone their skills and climb the ladder of opportunity towards a better and brighter future.
“Their hard work, determination, and dedication have undoubtedly left a mark on the European stage with their achievements not only reflecting their personal commitment to excellence but also highlighting the strength and capabilities of the UK’s skilled workforce.”
On receiving her gold medal in Digital Construction, before more than 30,000 spectators, at a packed football stadium, Isabelle Barron, aged 22, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, said:
“This is beyond my wildest dreams, and a huge boost to my confidence and career. I want to thank my WorldSkills UK training manager Michael McGuire, for the time, energy, and expertise that he has invested in me.
“Being recognised as the best in Europe is lifechanging. I hope that I can use my experience as part of Team UK, to dispel some of the myths about working in construction, and show young people the range of different opportunities that exist.”
Isabelle, who works for global architects and master planners, Chapman Taylor in Manchester, has a BSc Honours from Sheffield Hallam University.
She was also awarded the coveted ‘Best in Nation’ title for the UK.
The Bronze Medallists were, Ruben Duggan, aged 21, for Plumbing & Heating, from Blackwood in South Wales, who works for Powerserv Ltd and studied at Coleg Y Cymoedd, and Charlotte Lloyd, aged 20, who works for Reds Hair Company in her hometown of Ross-on-Wye.
The six Medallions for Excellence winners, having achieved world class standards are:
Web Development – Rhydian Brown, aged 19, from Wick (near Bridgend), South Wales, who studies at Cardiff University
Joinery – Harry Scolding, aged 20, from Solihull, who studied at Solihull College and now works for HDS Joinery
Mechatronics (team event) – Lucy Yelland, aged 21, from Stoke on Trent, & Ben Love, aged 20, from Worsley, Greater Manchester. Both work for Siemens and studied at Tameside College
Electrical Installations – Daniel Knox, aged 21, from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, who studied at South West College, and works at GP Electrical and Security Ltd
Restaurant Service – Daniel Davies, aged 21, from Aberporth, Cardigan, who works at the restaurant YR Hen Printworks, and studied at Coleg Ceredigion
Robot Systems Integration (team event) – Charlie Carson, aged 20, from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, who now studies at the University of Ulster and previously attended Northern Regional College, & Jason Scott, aged 21, from Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, who works for AES Global and studied at Northern Regional College
Team UK’s focus now moves to the ultimate test, which will be at the WorldSkills finals in Lyon in 2024 – when skilled apprentices and students, from across the entire World, will meet to compete.
Ben Blackledge, the CEO of WorldSkills UK celebrated the success. He said:
“This is a tremendous result for Team UK – and the nation. Each one of them should be proud of their achievement.
“EuroSkills’ gives us the opportunity to compare UK skills against those in the rest of Europe. This isn’t just good news for those that compete here, and at the WorldSkills Finals in Lyon next year, but it is an opportunity for all students and apprentices from the UK.
“These competitions provide a unique opportunity for us to learn from the best in the world and bring that international best practice back to the UK through the programmes we run at WorldSkills UK.
“That is why we are delighted to announce that the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence is to be immediately made available to all further education colleges, independent training providers and higher educational institutions across the UK.
“This means we can deliver world-class skills to hundreds of thousands of young people, including in the growth sectors of digital, net zero and advanced manufacturing.”
WorldSkills UK launched the Centre of Excellence, in partnership with awarding body NCFE, as a pilot project in 2020. Using the insight gained from its participation in European and international events, WorldSkills UK runs world-class teacher training programmes through the Centre of Excellence.
Alongside this, members can access industry-led networks in priority skills areas to support the teaching of future skills to meet employer demand and better prepare young people. A global community for thought leadership will create stronger links between education and industry in the UK with partners globally, to champion the demand for UK skills excellence.
For more on WorldSkills UK visit WorldSkills UK | Raising Apprenticeships & Technical Education Standards.