From education to employment

The UK prepares to take part in Europe’s leading skills competition EuroSkills

At last month’s AoC Conference, Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister John Hayes unveiled the young people, so far, who have been selected to train as part of Squad UK for WorldSkills London 2011.

It is a tremendous achievement to be selected for the Squad and for those young people who have been shortlisted to represent the UK in the world’s largest international skills competition, the next few months will be amongst the most important of their lives. The stakes are very high. With two or more people in the squad competing for each place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills London 2011, the competition will be intense and deeply serious. Fortunately they will have the benefit of being coached by top vocational teachers and trainers who will help them perform to the maximum of their ability. And that training starts right away.

Comprising of performance coaching and tuition from industry experts, taking part in other skills competitions also plays an important role in the training of Squad members. As a result, EuroSkills, the pan-European skills competition, which takes place from 9-11 December in Lisbon, Portugal, will play an important role in the UK’s preparations for WorldSkills London 2011.

EuroSkills, which takes place every two years, aims to raise the profile of vocational education and training in European Countries. The Competition will see nearly 500 young people from 30 countries compete in over 50 different skills disciplines in front of an audience of 50,000.

Entering a team of 20 young people aged 18-25 into 12 skills disciplines at EuroSkills; the UK will be looking to showcase the young talent we have in this country on a European stage.
Those competitors taking part in EuroSkills, who are in training as part of Squad UK, will be able to gain experience of competing against peers from other countries. In addition, competitors who are yet to secure a place in Squad UK will use the experience of competing to help them prepare for selection competitions which continue to take place in the lead up to WorldSkills London 2011.

In addition, two competitors who have already competed for the UK at previous WorldSkills Competitions and are active members of the WorldSkills, UK Alumni, will also be taking part in EuroSkills. Hairdresser Linzi Weare, who represented Team UK at WorldSkills Calgary 2009 winning a Medallion of Excellence and landscape gardener Keith Chapman who represented the UK at WorldSkills Shizuoka 2007 winning Medallion of Excellence, will use the Competition to form part of their continuous professional development. It will also give them the opportunity to test themselves in a competitive environment.  As members of the WorldSkills, UK Alumni, these Linzi and Keith are sponsored by Edge, the independent education foundation that is dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning.

The individuals competing at EuroSkills as part of their Squad UK training continue to be supported by;

  • Edge, Premier Supporter of Squad and Team UK and Sponsor of the WorldSkills, UK Alumni
  • Brathay Trust, Premier Partner for training and development of Squad and Team UK.

Visit the UK Skills website to learn more about the competitors taking part at EuroSkills and the skills they are participating in.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish every competitor the best of luck at EuroSkills.

Simon Bartley is chief executive of UK Skills, which champions learning through competitions and awards

Read other FE News articles by Simon Bartley:

WorldSkills UK gold medallists honoured at annual ceremony

Squad UK selection for WorldSkills London 2011 commences

Do your students have what it takes to be crowned the best in the UK?

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