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    Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK

    The recent news that that the overall achievement rate for people passing their apprenticeship has fallen has caused, quite rightly, a large amount of discussion.

    The reported decline does follow a change to the methodology used for reporting, but surely the most important question we should be asking is why do apprentices fail to complete their training?

    It has been suggested that providers and employers need to do more to support apprentices, monitoring their progress and providing mentoring and pastoral support. While any support given in this area can only be positive, we also need to ensure the training and learning provided is stimulating and challenging. This coupled with the need to deliver high quality skills training to drive productivity, is providing the opportunity for us to assess the way certain elements of training is delivered.

    Our research shows that skills competitions provide a unique way of combining teaching, learning and assessment to achieve real results for apprentices.

    Colleges and independent training providers have highlighted that entering WorldSkills UK Competitions not only drives training innovation, but improves achievement rates for individuals by enabling them to test themselves against their peers throughout the UK. In a recent survey, over 95% of competitors believed that taking part in our skill competitions improved their technical and employability skills, while over 80% felt competing had increased their confidence, team working, time management and ability to work under pressure.

    Participating in competitions also demonstrates to OFSTED how an organisation is meeting the common inspection framework standards by using competition activity to deliver high quality training. Funding is available to support the competition activity within apprenticeships as detailed in the Rules and Guidance for levy-paying Apprenticeship Employers.

    Enter your apprentices and students to the WorldSkills UK Competitions, which open on 1 March, and not only could they be crowned they UK’s best at the National Finals hosted at the Skills Show, they could go on to represent the UK on the global stage at WorldSkills Kazan 2019.    

    Competing internationally not only enables us to showcase the young talent in the UK but it also enables us to benchmark the employability skills of our apprentices with those from across the world. It is this insight which will ensure more young people are being equipped with the right skills to help UK businesses better compete globally.    

    Work with WorldSkills UK and we can support your apprentices to become among the best in the world, and together we can help to halt the decline in apprenticeship achievement rates, whilst celebrating the talent of young people through competition success.  

    Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK

    Team UK Selection for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 will take place from 30 March to 1 April, with Team UK being announced on 21 April. Click here for more information and to register for the WorldSkills UK Competitions

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