From education to employment

Team UK pays homage to college lecturers

With the latest WorldSkills competition coming ever closer, many competitors are quick to point out the importance of college support for Team UK as they prepare for this year’s event.

For all the competitors the support they receive from lecturers is vital to the development of their chosen skill.

Many of those taking part have been through the college system, showing the strength of teaching in the UK, and the importance of the team behind Team UK.

Ben Murphy, competing in cookery, explains the role his college lecturer Norman Fu, a chef lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College, London, played in helping him develop his skills.

“I would like to thank Norman for all his time and effort in introducing me to new ingredients and techniques,” said Murphy, aged 22.

“Without his support and encouragement I wouldn’t have got to where I am today. I now think of Norman as more of a friend than simply a lecturer.”

Colleges around the country recognise the importance of lecturers in inspiring students to perform well at competitions.

Marion Plant, principal of North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, explains the importance of WorldSkills to both students competing and lecturers coaching.

“By coaching for competitions, lecturers are able to help students reach their expectations and surpass them. They give students support for the competitions and in turn the lecturers help nurture them and help boost their self-esteem,” said Plant.

Another competitor, David Bowen, 18, paid homage to his lecturer Mike David, who teaches web design at Coleg Sir Gar South West Wales.

Bowen said: “I’d like to thank Mike for initially getting me involved in WorldSkills, and for giving up his time to tutor me on top of his full time job … Through WorldSkills I have become an even better web designer and grown in confidence.”

However, it is not only the students that benefit from Skills competitions, as Plant explained.

“Skills competitions push and stretch the abilities of staff at colleges,” she said.

“They have to work as hard as competitors and by stretching their skills it makes them even better at their jobs as lecturers. In turn, from coaching, teaching quality improves and staff up their skills as teachers and this benefits the college as a whole.”

Team UK is made up of 43 competitors aged 18-25, and they will be taking part in the WorldSkills 2011 at London ExCel from 5-8 October.

WorldSkills will have over 1000 competitors from around the world competing against each other in 46 events from cookery, web design, hairdressing and many others.

Bruce Thain

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