From education to employment

UK’s Leading Provider of Work Related Qualifications Invests £1 Million in Event

With the UK bidding for the WorldSkills Championships (as reported on FE News) in 2011, the tension is building as the nation awaits the final announcement.

The WorldSkills Championships celebrates the skills training arena, and are the highlight of the international skills calendar. The audience is given the chance to watch professionals in different fields demonstrate their abilities in various vocational activities, building an awareness of the issues faced in the workforce in terms of training and development.

The timing of the WorldSkills 2011 Championship, just one year before the international community descend on London for the Olympic Games in 2012, offers the opportunity to join up the skills achievements with sporting success ““ presuming that the UK wins the bid. And the countdown has begun ““ at the time of writing, there were only 18 days, 12 hours and 35 minutes until the final vote is taken.

City and Guilds

With this in mind, the support of leading figures and organisations in Further Education could prove to be the difference, pushing a fully supported London bid over the top and beating competitors Melbourne and Gothenburg to the punch. City and Guilds, the leading provider for work related qualifications in the United Kingdom, obviously sees hosting WorldSkills 2011 as a vital part of their efforts to move the skills agenda forward.

They have decided to blaze a trail for other areas of UK business, and have decided to invest £1 million in the bid process. If successful, the WorldSkills 2011 would be a vital platform for showcasing the nation’s workforce skills education practices, whilst also serving to build upon the existing status of City and Guilds in the global marketplace.

Trail Blazing

The WorldSkills 2011 bid is also in keeping with both the Foster Review of Further Education (published in November 2005) and the FE White Paper (March 2006). It seeks to encourage awareness of everything that FE has to offer for the economic success of Britain in the future. Chris Humphries, the Chairman of UK Skills and the Director General of City and Guilds, has called for business leaders to take the opportunity to invest time and money into the bid process, following the lead of City and Guilds.

Speaking on the bid, Keith Brooker, director of group markets and products at City and Guilds, commented: “Our commitment to WorldSkills 2011 is threefold. Firstly, the investment gives us an opportunity to increase the profile of vocational skills for young people. Secondly, if London wins the right to host the 2011 Games it will act as a catalyst for the UK’s commitment to becoming a high skill economy, helping to ensure that the current skills gap is plugged.”

He concluded by saying: “Finally, it is also an ideal opportunity to establish City & Guilds as a global leader in skills education. We hope that through our support and that of other businesses we will be able to win the bid and showcase in our home country the skills that we know the younger generation have.”

The bid for WorldSkills 2011 is important to the skills agenda, and should London prove to be successful in the bid process it will afford us with a great opportunity to demonstrate the UK’s achievements in FE. However, it should be noted that the people competing in the event, from across the world, are the prime reason behind the event. Whilst business must be engaged, it must not come at the expense of protecting and promoting the learners” best interests.

Jethro Marsh

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