FROM GDANSK TO LYON: A PROMISING OUTLOOK FOR TEAM WALES AT SKILLS OLYMPICS
Welsh apprentices and students are continuing to thrive on a global stage with the triumphant return of WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills International – the world’s biggest skills competitions.
This September, Team UK will comprise a total of 20 competitors, with four hailing from Wales and taking centre stage at EuroSkills Gdańsk in Poland from 5th – 9th September.
At the event, 600 skilled young professionals under the age of 25 from 32 member countries – including Germany, Switzerland and France – will compete for the title of best in their trade.
Wales has previously seen 35 competitors compete abroad in countries including Kazan and Abu Dhabi. This year, the competitors will be competing in the plumbing, mechanical engineering (CAD), restaurant services and web development competitions.
Restaurant Service competitor from Coleg Ceredigion, Daniel Davies, explained how it felt to be selected for EuroSkills 2023: “It still hasn’t kicked in that I’ll be representing Team UK in Gdansk in September. I absolutely love competing to challenge my knowledge and skills. The competitions are a great opportunity to learn as much as you can, and I get a real adrenaline rush from it.”
“I started out competing regionally in Skills Competition Wales but didn’t win a medal first time. I then entered again, came home with a Gold and went on to the UK Nationals and competed in Glasgow. Now I’ve been selected for Squad UK to train for a chance to get to WorldSkills Lyon and recently offered a place in Team UK for EuroSkills this September.”
Rhydian Brown, Web Development competitor from Cardiff and Vale College, explained the benefits of competing in WorldSkills: “The opportunities WorldSkills can lead you to are amazing. Not only am I heading to Gdansk for EuroSkills in September, but I’ve just got back from taking part in the Hungary Nationals last week; they invited us as a form of training, and I was able to meet the Hungarian and Finish competitors in my category.”
In addition to EuroSkills Gdańsk, 21 Welsh competitors have been named in the squad for the International WorldSkills competition in Lyon 2024.
The international competition – also known as the ‘Skills Olympics’ – is the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world, with many of the competitors at Gdansk aiming for this end goal.
Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething said: “We’re so proud to see so many of our Welsh competitors earning places in Team and Squad UK. WorldSkills offers individuals with the opportunity to showcase their skills and benchmark their vocational skills internationally.
“Successes like this demonstrate that, as a nation, Wales is continually producing highly skilled, talented young people who are well equipped to join businesses and further our Welsh economy.”
Ben Blackledge, Interim Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK, who selects and trains Team UK to the highest international standard said: “The EuroSkills Finals provides a valuable mechanism for benchmarking the quality of skills. Through its competition-based assessment of young people’s skills against European industry standards, we can compare UK standards against those in the rest of Europe and importantly bring that international best practice back to the UK through the programmes we run at WorldSkills UK.
“This will be a life-enhancing opportunity for these remarkable young people who will be competing as Team UK.
“They are leaders of their generation – and will inspire many more to walk in their footsteps. I wish them the best of luck.”