Each member of Team UK for WorldSkills London 2011, the world's largest international vocational skills competition, completes an intensive training programme managed by a dedicated Training Manager in the lead up to the competition, which takes place at ExCeL London (5-8 October). Team UK CNC Turning competitor Phillip Spowart, employed by Rolls Royce Derby, is trained by Paul Green, engineering lecturer at Yale College, Wrexham, North Wales. Paul Green writes:

WorldSkills London 2011 demonstrates the exceptionally high standards of skill level achievable by specialists in our sector. The events present a unique opportunity for us to engage both students and industry in competitiveness and shows just how important a role competitions play in the development of vocational skills. For the engineering sector in particular, competitions both on a national and an international level allow us to develop future engineers to the highest level of competency at a very early stage in their career development.

Sharing our exceptional CNC Milling and Turning facilities at our Engineering campus at Yale College in North Wales, we have seen firsthand the benefits of entering and hosting WorldSkills UK competitions and we have been privileged to host selection competitions for Team UK in CNC Turning, CNC Milling and Manufacturing Team Challenge. The challenges have enabled us all, including our own students and staff, to see how skills competitions give competitors the chance to build their own confidence and skill knowledge, which of course in turn helps them to progress more quickly in the workplace.

With over 150,000 visitors expected at WorldSkills London 2011 I am hoping many visitors will be inspired to take up a career in engineering. Not only will they see where the opportunities studying for a qualification in engineering can lead to; but they will also understand the level of skill and precision required. Attention to detail is something that will certainly be evident in the CNC Turning Competition at WorldSkills as each competitor is required to program a software controlled manufacturing machine from a technical drawing, select, mount and offset the needed cutting tools to fabricate a desired metal part. The task must be done to an accuracy of 0.01mm (the equivalent human hair split approximately eight times!). So as you can imagine, Philip, our Team UK member for CNC Turning is currently completing a very intense training programme.

Philip began his WorldSkills journey after competing in the WorldSkills UK national competition for CNC Turning last year; from there he was invited to compete for a place in Squad and then Team UK.

Training as part of Team UK for WorldSkills London 2011, Philip Spowart, 22, from Bonsall, who works for Rolls-Royce (Derby), has access to some of the most advanced technology on the market, with brands such as Sandvik, Dormer Tools and Mitutoyo and Reinshaw all providing market leading equipment, but it goes much further than that. These well-known companies not only provide us with the equipment and technology that we simply could not do without, but also offer expert advice, guidance and support imperative to the success of Philip's training and development. Kim Olander, Senior Manager Business Operations of Sandvik UK is so passionate about the importance of developing young people through the WorldSkills programme; he has provided Philip and myself one-on-one support from a Sandvik product specialist, such dedication is certainly testament to the level of industry understanding and support we have and shows just how much the ethos and initiative of WorldSkills Competitions is valued.

As we count down to WorldSkills London 2011, the excitement and support at Yale College, is evident. In the new academic year we will be building on this enthusiasm by giving talks and sharing the benefits of WorldSkills competitions to staff and new students joining the college, so our involvement in competitions will continue. I anticipate colleges and employers up and down the country will be inspired by the success and heightened profile of skills competitions generated by WorldSkills London 2011.

Paul Green is an engineering lecturer at Yale College, Wrexham, North Wales


Read other FE News articles by Team UK Training Managers:

John O'Neill, deputy head of computing and IT at Barnfield College (IT Network Systems Administration)

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