From education to employment

Wales celebrates record breaking number of skills champions


A record breaking 293 talented young people from Wales have been awarded medals for their successes at this year’s Skills Competition Wales awards.

The announcement follows a series of competitions that took place across Wales, in skills categories including Health and Social Care, Industrial Economics, Carpentry and the newly launched Inclusive Skills: Independent Living Skills.

Throughout January and February 1,242 representatives from each Welsh region battled it out to be named the best in the country at their chosen skill, securing a total of 101 gold, 104 silver and 88 bronze medals.

A well-deserved awards ceremony took place virtually last night, where winners were able to receive acknowledgement for the demonstration of their skills and hard work, and to celebrate their achievements with their friends and family.

Skills Competition Wales is run by the Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales project; a Welsh Government funded programme run by a dedicated network of colleges, work-based learning providers and employer-led organisations.

Gold medallist, Chloe Bidwell, who competed in the Joinery category, explained the impact competing in Wales’ biggest skills competition has had on their life:

“I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience. I love my apprenticeship and building houses and have been able to create bespoke pieces through these competitions. It’s taught me so much.

“Winning a medal is incredible – not just because of the effort I’ve put in, but also the commitment from the colleges in preparing me. My apprenticeship workplace at Varsity Living has been supportive throughout the whole process too.

“To begin with, competing in a male dominant category was quite nerve wracking, but the guys were all lovely and supportive. However, it would be lovely to see more females and familiar faces competing.”

Luke Evans, Gold medallist in the Plumbing and Heating category, added:

“The immediate aftermath of the competition was great. You put a lot of hard work into a timed and pressured task so standing back to see the result at the end is really rewarding.

“As an apprentice, competing has developed my skills on site and improved my time management. It feels brilliant to win and see the hard work pay off. I think my work is at a high standard but so was everyone’s. The competition was tough.”

The finalists of Skills Competition Wales will have the opportunity to compete in the national and international competitions of WorldSkills UK, EuroSkills and WorldSkills International, subject to a further round of applications. Applications for this year’s WorldSkills UK competitions close later this month.

Next year, Lyon, France will be hosting the 47th International WorldSkills competition otherwise known as the ‘Skills Olympics’. 38 competitors across Wales have started their training journeys in hope of representing Team UK at Lyon 2024, and possibly being crowned the best in the world at their chosen skill.

Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething said:

“Skills Competition Wales is an excellent platform for young people to challenge themselves and put their skills to the test.

“Having supported and attended several of the competitions in the past, I have seen first-hand the amazing talent Wales has to offer. I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of the participants. Their passion for their craft was evident as they put their best foot forward and competed for top honours.

“It is inspiring to witness young people take pride in what they do and strive to be the very best versions of themselves. Programmes like Skills Competition Wales help to promote a culture of growth and excellence at every level.

“I’d like to congratulate each and every competitor on their accomplishments this far. Each of you have a very exciting journey ahead.

Mari Lovgreen, who introduced the winners alongside fellow presenter Ameer Davies-Rana during the celebration event, added:

“It’s been lovely to be a part of the Skills Competition Wales awards for yet another year.”

“It’s not often that you get so many talented young people together under one roof, so to be able to host the event virtually and have all the competitors’ friends and families join us to celebrate was a really special occasion.”     

For more information on Skills Competition Wales and to be in with a chance to represent your country in 2023, visit

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