Like any principal I am always enormously proud every time I see and hear of success stories from within our sector.

Sharing success is something that unites us all and I believe it deepens our pride in a sector that punches its weight in transforming lives, influencing the cultural and social aspects of our cities, towns and communities and in shaping UK PLC.

So I’m sure you can all imagine how it felt to be in a jam packed stadium in Calgary for the WorldSkills 2009 closing ceremony. It was crammed full of exhilarated young people from 46 nations, their energy released after three gruelling days of intense competitions where they, as their countries number 1 in their chosen profession, pitted their minds and skills against the best young people in the world. Each one of them focused on being the best in the world, eager to make their parents, families, lecturers, principals, employers and country proud of them.

To say I cheered loudly at the closing ceremony is an understatement! The Union Jack was held aloft nine times by delighted medal winners from Team UK whilst their team mates, training managers, families and supporters, such as principals, lecturers and employers, ecstatically cheered them on. After the official ceremony Chris Humphries, chair of UK Skills, hosted a UK ceremony to share the results of Team UK’s performance. We all rose to our feet and took the roof off with our thunderous applause for such a hugely talented team of 26 people who, we discovered, had placed the UK 7th in the WorldSkills League table having gained 9 medals (3, gold, 6 bronze) and 14 Medallions for Excellence. This the highest place the UK has ever attained in the history of the competitions.

Like a number of other supporters in Calgary I didn’t have an individual student in the competitions but that didn’t matter. Team UK represented all of us; they did us proud as they showed the World how talented our staff and learners are and what fantastic FE Colleges we have in the UK.

Team UK 2009 along with their talented training managers, many of whom are lecturers in FE, have built on and learnt from the experience of previous teams to ensure they were successful in Calgary. As a sector we can’t afford not to share in their success. What’s more we need to learn from it, that way we can all help ensure that in 2011 (when London hosts the WorldSkills competition) Team UK gains even more medals and medallions of excellence thus demonstrating that Colleges in the UK are truly world class.

As a past training manager and WorldSkills chief expert I know how much involvement and support is needed from the FE sector to prepare a team member for gold. I have also seen first hand how important a team’s performance is in recognising how good a country’s vocational training is perceived to be. Over the years UK qualifications, guided learning hours and funding levels have changed and no matter what your personal views are we all know that staff in FE want all of their learners to achieve their best. To me the ultimate accolade in any profession is to be number one in the world.

Competitions demonstrate the highest skill level that is accepted in all WorldSkills member countries. It tests competitors ability to work under pressure, within time constraints and to problem solve. Being part of a team grows individuals self awareness, self esteem and self confidence as well as the attributes of selflessness and humility. Taking part in competitions develops a fighting spirit helping competitors to learn how to learn, to become self disciplined, motivated and focused on achieving. In short they nurture the competitive advantage which all businesses need! What lecturer, principal or parent wouldn’t want there student, son or daughter to gain these skills and attributes? What’s more what employer wouldn’t want these in an employee?

As Calgary closed the journey began in preparing potential squad members for 2011 and in seeking competitors for competitions that will harness the potential squad for 2013 in Germany. As a sector we have a responsibility to ensure our UK Teams really do secure the best talent FE has to share. It’s not about our individual organisations but about our sector. That’s why we must make sure that future UK Teams capture the finest talent that FE has to offer. They should also represent the diversity of our organisations and that’s where we can all play a part through spreading the word, encouraging our learners and staff to participate in competitions and in sharing the experiences gained as well as the successes. To find out more about getting involved please contact UK Skills via

I believe seeing world class talent helps raise aspirations and develops a passion for competition. It can also be one of the greatest continual professional development (CPD) experiences that FE staff can gain. I’m already planning for my staff and learners to experience Worldskills 2011 are you?

I hope to see you all at EXCEL between 3-7 October 2011 demonstrating the best talent that FE has to offer and supporting and sharing our Teams success.

Dawn Ward OBE is principal and chief executive of Burton College and WorldSkills UK Champion

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page