From education to employment



A just-qualified construction apprentice from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) who is part of the UK’s current WorldSkills squad is set to travel to the United Arab Emirates later this month to take part in a ‘pressure test’ painting and decorating skills challenge.

Hattie Parnham from Wigston has been training all year for a place in the team that will represent the UK at the WorldSkills 2024 ‘Skills Olympics’ in Lyon next year. Having successfully completed her apprenticeship with NWSLC this week with a Distinction grade for her practical work, Hattie continues to work as a painter and decorator for Ashby Decorator Centre Ltd.

Hattie, who will be travelling beyond Europe for the first time, said,

“I have been taking part in intensive training sessions in Scotland ever since I was selected for Squad UK in February. I have made multiple trips to Dundee & Angus College for practical sessions that are helping me to improve my skills and gain confidence in my professional abilities. My colleagues at Ashby Decorator Centre have been so supportive, and I am grateful for the time they have allowed me to take up this amazing opportunity.”

WorldSkills is an internationally respected biannual competition that rewards excellence in technical challenges. Team UK will face competitors from 80 countries for places on the podium with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals available in a wide range of specialist disciplines.

The Abu Dhabi competition, on 27-29 November 2023, is part of WorldSkills Asia and represents an opportunity for Hattie to experience the environment of an international competition before she competes officially. Feedback on her performance in the test project will help her to develop her painting and decorating skills and increase her chance of winning a place in the UK team for Lyon in 2024.     

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, who is also deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills, said,

“This is fantastic news; we’re very proud of Hattie and delighted that she has been selected for this experience. WorldSkills opens so many doors for young people and, with hard work and dedication, they can benefit from some amazing opportunities. We are sure that competing as part of this scheme will provide Hattie with an unforgettable experience that will help her to grow and develop both personally and professionally.”

Selection for the UK team for WorldSkills in Lyon takes place in February 2024.

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