Simon Bartley, CEO UK Skills, encourages organisations to support skills competitions and engage employees.
One of the most challenging reports published last year for those concerned with performance at work was the MacLeod Review of employee engagement. Coming at a time when many businesses were anxious about their survival it was a rallying cry about the vital importance of securing commitment from employees towards their jobs. As David MacLeod commented: “This is about unleashing the potential of people at work and enabling them to be the best they can. Whether we are in a downturn or in better economic times, engagement is key to innovation and competitiveness.”
Interestingly enough, some commentators were puzzled by the recommendations. Wasn’t it glaringly obvious, they said, that employee engagement was a vital ingredient in any organisation which was trying to maximise its performance?
Well, sometimes even the most obvious truths need to be made explicit. After all, not every management team understands the significance of getting their workforce fully onside - or, just as important, how to do it.
LESSONS FROM WORLDSKILLS UK COMPETITIONS
What I see each year amongst the competitors of the WorldSkills UK competitions (which are run on a national and regional basis by UK Skills) are the benefits of skills competitions both to those who take part and to their companies in generating employee engagement.
The competitors from last year’s Built Environment competitions, which are organised by external partners including ConstructionSkills and SummitSkills in association with UK Skills, showed just how skills competitions can help them in their working lives. Many highlighted how they found that their overall confidence had improved. Also the opportunity to test their ability against their peers provided a benchmark for them to evaluate their ability. It is this invaluable experience which can help lift standards of training and performance promoting world class skills and international competitiveness. An area Peter Mandelson highlighted in the Government’s White Paper ‘Growth for Skills’ in November of last year. He said: “Skills are a key part of our plan for economic recovery.”
Evidence that young people are excited by the prospect of demonstrating their skill on a national level is given by Ian Billyard, Principal of Leeds College of Building. He said: “Students at the College see competitions as important and many seek to be part of our competition teams which assists in driving up standards within the College.” However Ian also adds that: “It is sometimes difficult to persuade industry to support the time commitments which will allow the students to compete effectively.” To build stronger links with industry, Ian and his staff highlight to companies the benefits to the bottom line which can be achieved through involvement in skills competitions. Indeed, for employers, the involvement of their workforces in skills competitions can promote excellence in skills, instil pride in the job and inject ambition into the workforce.
GET INVOLVED IN WORLDSKILLS UK COMPETITIONS
Now is the time to get involved in WorldSkills UK Competitions as most close for entry on Friday 19 March 2010.
For more information and a full list of competitions please visit www.worldskillsuk.org and give your workforce the opportunity to test their skills against the best in the UK.
WorldSkills London 2010
If you would like to get involved and support the World’s largest international skills competition when it comes to London between 5 and 8 October. Please visit www.worldskillsLondon2011.com for more information.
This event will see almost 1200 competitors from over 50 countries compete in over 45 skills and it is our chance to shine on the international stage and show how talented the young people of the UK are.