Team UK goes for global glory


Cameron Nutt, Conor Willmott & Angus Bruce-Gardner

The nation’s elite young skilled women and men have been selected to go for gold against the rest of the world – in a litmus test for the future of our economy. Successful super-talented Team UK members have beaten off the challenge from thousands of fellow and former apprentices and students to represent the UK at the WorldSkills Finals in Abu Dhabi, from 14–19 October.

Cameron Nutt, 20, who trains at North West Regional College in Northern Ireland and works for J&R Snodgrass will represent the UK in Carpentry; Angus Bruce-Gardner, 22, who trained at Waters and Acland and who works for Silverlining will represent the UK in Cabinet Making; and Conor Willmott, 20, who trains at West Suffolk College and works at Precision Carpentry and Joinery will represent the UK in Joinery.

The two-year (or more) process has seen competitors win regional heats, a national final, European finals and last month, jump the final hurdle reaching the most testing international standards at a team selection showdown. 32 talented skilled professionals will continue to undergo a rigorous regime of Olympic style training in preparation for the most intense week of competition imaginable. Skills represented range from Aircraft Maintenance and Mechanical Engineering through to Restaurant Service and Cyber Security.

WorldSkills UK, which helps young people ‘Go Further, Faster’, is spearheading the use of competition in the workplace, training centres, schools and colleges, to inspire the next generation and fill the skills gap. CEO Dr Neil Bentley, said: “This is a critical moment for the future of these inspirational young people – and our economy. The WorldSkills Finals in Abu Dhabi are more important than international sporting fixtures spurring on competitors to achieve the highest international standards to inspire more and more young people to get into apprenticeships and technical careers, getting them off to the best start in work and life. Our ability to produce the right number of skilled, motivated, young people is vital for productivity, competitiveness and economic growth. Skills top the agenda of so many organisations – Governments across the UK and the CBI through to the Trade Unions and education sector. Team UK represents the very future success of our economy and what they represent will help determine whether we thrive or fail post Brexit.”

WorldSkills UK, funded and supported by the DfE, devolved governments and commercial partners, utilises revolutionary training techniques usually associated with elite sporting teams, athletes and competitors. Performance coaches and skills experts spend hundreds of hours honing their skills and drawing upon physical, mental and holistic methodology to produce optimum achievement under the most testing ‘pressure cooker’ conditions.

WorldSkills Finals are held every two years when over 1,000 delgates from more than 70 countries gather for four days of competition. This year’s final is seen as an important litmus test as to how well the UK will fare post Brexit with the rest of the World. Homegrown skills will become ever more important as industry seeks to reduce reliance on workers from the EU. In 2015, at the most recent WorldSkills Finals held in Såo Paulo, Team UK finished overall seventh in the medal table, ahead of France and Germany, bringing home an impressive haul of medals including three gold, four silver, two bronze and 23 medallions of excellence. To find out more, see www.worldskillsuk.org, and we’ll bring you more news as it happens.

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