Gordon Brown, at his Downing Street residence, congratulated a group of 22 gifted contestants who represented Britain at WorldSkills, the world’s largest skills based competition, held in Japan, last November.
Joined by Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham and Minister for Skills, David Lammy, the Prime Minister asked the attendees about their experiences and views about the competition that saw 51 nations competing in areas such as engineering, landscape gardening, graphic design, hairdressing and beauty therapy.
In a gruelling 4 day challenge, amidst 200,000 supporters, winner Gary Tuddenham brought home Gold for Cabinet-Making while Harry Smith got Silver for Graphic Designing. Both Simon Noble and Jonathan Lloyd won Bronze in Auto-body Repairing and Car Painting categories respectively.
Britain bagged 4 medals and 9 medallions for excellent performance against its 49 global contesters. Due to the team’s performance in 21 skill categories, the UK now ranks 11th in the world and 4th in Europe, an overall improvement by one place in the team league table from year 2005.
Speaking to the guests which included Gary Tuddenham of the Edward Barnsley Workshop, the Prime Minister said: “Ensuring that the UK has a skilled workforce is fundamentally important to our future economic growth and to the life chances of all our people. What these young people have been able to achieve, and their commitment and determination to do well places them as outstanding role models for other young people.
“I pass on my heartfelt congratulations to the whole team for all of their efforts at WorldSkills 2007.”
The next biennial WorldSkills competition will be held in Canada in 2009, with WorldSkills 2011 taking place in London.
This year’s UK WorldSkills team was managed by UK Skills working in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Scottish Executive, the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, the Welsh Assembly Government and key partners from education, government and industry.
Supporters included: City & Guilds, the Learning and Skills Council, the Quality Improvement Agency, Honda, L”Oreal Professionnel, Snickers Workwear and Brathay.