From education to employment

UK Win Makes London World Skills Capital

If the 1212 Olympics are not enough to satisfy your thirst for the blood, sweat and tears of vicious contest then fear not; the UK has won its bid to host the WorldSkills Competition in London in 2011, which will surely offer an array of competitive vocational delights.

Held every two years, the event will take place in London from the 6th ““ 9th October 2011 and will be held at ExCeL London, one of the main venues for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The UK bid, which was formally submitted following January of this year, faced strong competition from Australia and Sweden. The UK was able to fight them off last week in Melbourne at the WorldSkills Annual General Meeting, however, aided by Claridge’s, L”Oréal Professionnel and Honda, who lobbied for delegates” votes.

Forty Participants

The new Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson hailed the “wonderful news”, commenting: “We now have a unique chance with the Government, business and the education sector working closely together to raise the status of skills and vocational education dramatically and inspire a new generation of youngsters to take up good careers in all sectors of the economy.”

Participants from more than 40 different countries will mercilessly slog it out in more than 40 skills areas, ranging from hairdressing and beauty therapy to landscape skills and welding. Interactive technology will be used to promote the competition widely and raise the profile and status of vocational skills, technicians and specialist crafts to a wider audience.

Chris Humphries, Chairman of UK Skills, the organisation that spearheaded the UK bid, argued hosting the competition will offer a platform on which to raise the profile of WorldSkills in the UK and at a global level. “We also now have the chance to raise the profile of the skills that will make the London Olympic and Paralympic Games possible,” he continued. “For too long the vocational route has been seen as inferior to academic studies but succeeding in the skills sector takes just as much dedication, determination and hard work. Participating in Skills Competitions drives forward individuals” aspirations, provides them with a way to benchmark their skills and to recognise their achievements.”

Government Support

Not surprisingly the UK bid enjoyed strong support from the Government, the Mayor of London, business and individuals. Sponsors have pledged £11million in funding, which the Government has pledged to match if the bid proves successful. This funding would cover the costs of hosting the event, at around £22 million, which the Government has also agreed to underwrite.

The news is no doubt “wonderful” also for Alan Johnson personally, having only recently been appointed to his position as Education and Skills Secretary following the cutthroat Cabinet reshuffle of May 5. The win will arguably offer Johnson a platform of an entirely different kind, in a political atmosphere plagued by uncertainty, despite his hand in the matter being almost certainly minimal.

Nevertheless, let’s not get too depressed about the politics; the competition will offer London an opportunity to shine (and to stress test its rather dodgy transport network) in advance of the Olympics the following year.

Michelle Price

Stay ahead of FE at FE News!

Related Articles