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 Automobile Technology competitor John Couldridge, is trained by John Dawson, Technical Trainer / Lecturer at South Nottingham College. John Dawson writes,

I believe skills competitions, like WorldSkills UK on a national level and WorldSkills London 2011 on an international level, motivate young students to enhance their technical ability, academic and professional skills. We have certainly experienced the benefits of entering competitions at South Nottingham College and I have also seen the positive impact on John Couldridge's career as he progresses through the Team UK training programme.

As Training Manager / WorldSkills Expert for the Automobile Technology Competition my responsibility is to work with competitors both at Squad and Team stage to establish mutual trust and cooperation. I am also responsible for assessing the competitor's abilities and devising a training programme to identify and meet their personal training needs. Following the Team UK Selection process which took place earlier this year at City College, Coventry, John was selected to represent the UK in Automobile Technology.

John, 22, is currently employed by Glyn Hopkin Honda and was selected to compete for a place in Squad and then Team UK after winning Gold at the WorldSkills UK Automobile Technology (SkillAuto) in 2009. At such an early stage in his career, John has already achieved Diagnostic Technician status and is now working towards the Master Technician awards. Alongside this work, John is completing his Team UK training programme. To develop this training we have used test projects from past WorldSkills international competitions which include working on vehicle systems as advanced as engine management and spark ignition systems, body electrical systems and communication networks. John has developed his skill levels further in all of these areas, gaining extensive experience throughout his training and assisting with his overall career development.

In addition to this practical skill training, John has attended performance development sessions at Brathay Trust, the Premier Training and Development Partner of Squad and Team UK. During this training John has learnt how to work effectively and efficiently under pressure and also how to maintain focus in a busy competition environment. All of these are key requirements for competitors in any skills competition and these new skills have set John apart from his peers as a highly employable and marketable candidate in any job.

John's preparation for WorldSkills London 2011 has and continues to take place in the lead up to WorldSkills London 2011 at The Honda Institute and also at The East Midlands Centre for Automotive Training (EMCAT), part of South Nottingham College. This centre is home to the College's own automotive delivery team as well as some of the industry's leading training providers. Training takes place in modern, purpose built facilities in Ruddington, Nottingham where automotive training in conjunction with motor manufacturers has been taking place for over 15 years.

At South Nottingham College and EMCAT we have seen through our students entering skills competitions, how the competitions can help to drive up the quality in apprenticeships and vocational education by providing learners with the opportunity to build confidence and knowledge of their skill. Eric Braham, Head of EMCAT and Davy Yates, Curriculum Area Manager for South Nottingham College also believe that involvement in skills competitions inspires staff development and learner engagement. As a result, we continue to support the Institute of the Motor Industry, the Sector Skills Council for the automotive industry, by hosting competitions for SkillAuto, part of the WorldSkills framework, at Regional and National levels at our college.

I would encourage a visit to WorldSkills London 2011 from 5 – 8 October. It is a great opportunity to allow you to see firsthand the standards of excellence competitors are aspiring to and to motivate learners, colleges and training providers to aspire and develop skills at the highest level.

The members of Team UK have been and will continue to be supported in their training by Edge, the independent education foundation, the Premier Supporter of Squad and Team UK and Brathay Trust, the Premier Training and Development Partner of Squad and Team UK. For more information on the next cycle of WorldSkills UK Competitions please visit www.worldskillsuk.org

John Dawson is a technical trainer/lecturer at South Nottingham College

Read other FE News articles by Team UK Training Managers:

David McCay, lecturer at North West Regional College (Wall and Floor Tiling)

Paul Green, engineering lecturer at Yale College (CNC Turning)

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

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