From education to employment


students working

Andy Burnham says competitions are a brilliant way for young people to develop skills

The UK’s top students and apprentices will be going for gold in Greater Manchester this autumn after the region was chosen to host the prestigious WorldSkills UK National Finals.

Nine venues in the city-region – including colleges, universities and independent training providers – will play host to over 50 finals with 500competitors from all over the UK competing from 14-17 November*.

From aircraft maintenance at Wigan and Leigh College to the laboratory technician competition at the University of Manchester, via landscaping in Oldham and 3D digital game art at The Manchester College, young people across the region will have the opportunity to witness the spectacle and drama of the finals.

The celebration of world-class skills will culminate in the announcement of the winners at a glittering awards ceremony on Friday 17 November at The Bridgewater Hall.

The news of the finals being held in Greater Manchester comes a week after Mayor Andy Burnham launched proposals for a Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (MBacc) to improve access to technical education courses in the region. 

WorldSkills UK Interim CEO Ben Blackledgesaid:

“We are delighted to be bringing the National Finals to Greater Manchester this autumn. With 50 finals spread over nine venues there will be something for everyone.

“As well as boosting young people’s personal skills and developing the skills that employers and the economy needs, events like the WorldSkills UK National Finals shine a light on the vital importance of high-quality skills to the UK and the vast talent and potential we have in the next generation.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:

“The WorldSkills UK competitions are a brilliant way for students and apprentices to develop their skills and push themselves to be the very best they can.

“We are working hard in Greater Manchester to create opportunities for young people to develop high-level technical skills. WorldSkills UK along with the idea of a Greater Manchester Baccalaureate for technical education are helping us achieve our ambitious plans to ensure young people in the city-region are given the tools they need to achieve their career aspirations.

“We are all really excited that we will be welcoming students and apprentices from across the UK to showcase the very best of their skills and inspire young people in the region.”

The competitions are a seven-month process that include regional heats and intensive training before competitors step up to the ultimate test of the National Finals in November. Young people are full of praise for the competitions with the vast majority (97%) of previous entrants saying taking part improved their technical skills and 93% saying they improved their personal and employability skills.

Joseph Brooks from Glossop won gold in the graphic design National Final last year and is delighted that Greater Manchester is hosting the finals this year. The 20-year-old Oldham College student said:

“It’s absolutely brilliant that the finals are coming to Greater Manchester this year. I’d encourage everyone to take some time to check them out and I’ll certainly be taking a keen interest in the competitions at Oldham College.

“To be honest, I couldn’t believe it when Steph McGovern announced that I had won gold at the National Finals last year. It was a real pinch me moment. I’d put in hundreds of hours of training and it was hard work, but it was so worth it.”

Designed by industry experts, the competitions even provide a salary boost. Research by Frontier Economics found that young people who have been involved with WorldSkills UK competitions earn around 60% more than their peers who have not taken part.

As well as the nine Greater Manchester venues, Fanuc will host the industrial robotics final at an open house event at its UK head office in Coventry from 14-16 November.

* Venues and finals they are hosting:

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Education, Skills and apprenticeships

Related Articles