Developing world class skills
Simon Bartley, Chief Executive, UK Skills launches the new cycle of WorldSkills UK competitions.
Following Team UK’s success at WorldSkills Calgary 2009, it is clear that WorldSkills UK competitions continue to play a key part in lifting standards of training and performance while promoting world class skills.
As the economic crisis continues to take hold and we see firsthand the tough conditions facing young people as they look for full-time employment, skills competitions have taken on an altogether more significant role. Recent figures released by the Government highlighted that record numbers of young people are out of school, training or work. These are worrying statistics and must be addressed. Indeed, as the economy recovers, we will need a highly trained workforce to allow the UK to compete effectively in the global market place. And it is skills competitions which are the perfect vehicle to encourage young people to develop their skill base and prepare them for future employment.
Geoff Lister, Chairman of the Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeships Task Force, was also in Calgary this year to celebrate this wonderful performance by Britain’s young people, he said “I was so pleased to be able to represent our industry in Calgary over the summer. It was a particular pleasure given the amazing success of our entries. In my experience, actively seeking to reward talent is the best way to nurture and encourage young people and given the ever deepening skills crisis competitions such as this are more important than ever. Well done Team GB!”
LIFTING THE STANDARDS OF TRAINING
Throughout the year, UK Skills oversees the running of WorldSkills UK, the premier set of skills competitions for young people and adults. Run on both a regional and national level, the aim of competitions is to help lift standards of training, promoting international competitiveness.The competitions are run in over 70 skill areas from fashion design, to engineering to floristry. Specifically in the Built Environment, there are 17 competitions including bricklaying, cabinet making and landscape gardening, for a full list please visit: www.worldskillsuk.org.
In keeping with the main routes into employment, most competitors will either be apprentices, college students, university students, trainees and employees. WorldSkills UK is supported by Government, the Devolved Nations and a host of other partners across business, industry and the world of education and training.
Stonemason, Oliver Clack represented UK at WorldSkills Calgary 2009
WORLDSKILLS COMES TO LONDON
Vocational skills competitions offer significant benefits to all those who enter and support them. This was recognised when the UK Government strongly supported the successful UK bid to bring WorldSkills to London in 2011. The largest international skills event will take place in ExCel, Docklands in October 2011. Indeed, when asked about the advantages of being involved with skills competitions, many highlighted that it has helped trainers to raise their teaching standards by allowing them to differentiate their training provision.
What’s more, it provides the opportunity to showcase competitors’ achievements and for the competitors themselves, it offers the chance to improve personal development, boosting their self esteem and motivation. This feeling is echoed by Oliver Clack, who is employed by Cathedral Work. He represented the UK at WorldSkills Calgary 2009 in stonemasonry. On taking part in the competition, Oliver said: “It is an honour to be among the top in the UK. The thought of it makes me so proud of myself.” Competing in skills competitions can also help businesses develop and retain staff and demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Through skills competitions, we can work together to lift standards of training and performance promoting world class skills and international competitiveness. Faced with continued economic uncertainty it is essential we don’t give up on training and keep encouraging new talent into the industry. It’s competitions like WorldSkills UK that already are, and can continue to help us to achieve this.
For more information on the individual competitions in the Built Environment categories and for details on how to enter please visit: www.worldskillsuk.org.