From education to employment


A former graphic design student from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has been selected as a member of Team UK and is on track to compete on a global stage at the international WorldSkills 2022 competition in Shanghai this year.

Ellie Ruff from Nuneaton, who is currently studying for a degree in graphic design at Nottingham Trent University, has travelled all over the country as part of the prestigious WorldSkills UK Talent Development Programme. It has now been revealed that Ellie has successfully secured a place in the team of just 39 young people from across the four nations set to represent the UK in October 2022.

Known as the ‘Skills Olympics’, this internationally respected competition is held every two years and rewards excellence in technical disciplines. Team UK will face competitors from 80 countries in a bid to reach the podium and win medals in their specialist disciplines.

Ellie Ruff is honing her skills as part of WorldSkills Team UK

After excelling in national WorldSkills UK skills competitions, Ellie earned the chance to compete on the world’s stage in the visual merchandising category. At college, Ellie achieved the highest possible grades (Distinction stars) for her Level 3 graphic design qualification at the college’s creative arts Hinckley Campus. She went on to win a Silver medal for her creative merchandising skills at the prestigious WorldSkills UK LIVE competition and has been honing her skills ever since.

Ellie said, “I am delighted to have been selected for Team UK. I am really enjoying my WorldSkills experience, and it has been a fantastic opportunity to meet my fellow competitors at training sessions all over the UK from Glasgow and Manchester to West Sussex where I worked alongside joiners and cabinet makers at Brinsbury College. I am returning to NWSLC next week to take part in a further pressure test at the college’s Wigston Campus so it will be great to be back on home ground. Travelling to China is an incredible prospect as I have never been further than Europe before.”

Ellie’s journey will continue throughout the summer as team members are required to demonstrate world class skills as part of the moderation process before their place is confirmed. In the meantime, Ellie is on deadline with her degree studies and is about to submit her final assignments at the end of her second year. She said that coming to college was ‘the best choice ever’ and she really enjoyed her course. Ellie believes that success in skills competitions will improve her CV when she joins the world of work after graduating and help her to secure employment as a graphic designer.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, who is also deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills, said: “This is fantastic news; we’re very proud of Ellie and delighted that she has been selected for Team UK. WorldSkills opens so many doors for young people and, with hard work and dedication, they can benefit from some amazing opportunities. We are sure that competing as part of Team UK will provide Ellie with an unforgettable experience that will help her to grow and develop both personally and professionally.

“Ellie has benefited from some fantastic support from her tutors who consistently go the extra mile to help students practice and prepare themselves as well as they can. We believe that competitions are an excellent way of enabling students to practice real-world employability skills, inspiring them to get enthusiastic about their future career options. We wish Ellie the very best of luck as she works towards the competition in China later this year.”

Ben Blackledge,WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO said,“These young professionals represent the best in their field. We can transfer the insights gained from competing against other countries to drive up standards at home and boost the economy.”

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