Team Wales has excelled at this year’s WorldSkills UK National Finals, claiming a total of 51 medals.
Out of the 115 strong Welsh competitors that took part, Team Wales won 8 gold, 21 silver, 15 bronze, and 7 highly commended; an outstanding performance which ensured over 40% of Welsh competitors were ranked on the final league table.
Among the top-performing colleges in the United Kingdom, institutions such as Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Pembrokeshire College, and Coleg Gwent stood out. Their selection as one of the top six colleges in the United Kingdom is underpinned by their exceptional training programmes.
The WorldSkills UK National Finals sees over 400 young people from across Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland battle it out in a series of challenges to be named best in the UK at their vocational skill – from aircraft maintenance to confectionary and patisserie to forensic science.
WorldSkills UK supports young people to compete in skills competitions to showcase best international practice and raise standards in skills across apprenticeships and technical education.
Team Wales also thrived in the Foundation Skills league table. Having scooped a total of 9 medals, the Foundation Skills competitions showcase the skills of students with special educational needs and disabilities, additional learning needs, or who require additional support for learning.
The official results were announced at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall during a medal ceremony, with the city also hosting a series of national competitions at colleges, independent training providers and universities.
Ella Clements from Aberaeron won the Silver medal in the Restaurant Services category this year. She said:
“Winning a Silver medal at WorldSkills UK was a euphoric experience! I can’t begin to describe the honour and gratitude I felt.
“Participating and preparing for the skills competitions has taught me so much, it’s shown me what working hard something can achieve. The competitions have opened doors and pathways to expand my career and helped me to develop my skills, which has inspired me to succeed.”
Rhys Rapado-Evans (pictured above) won Gold in the Foundation Skills: Horticulture competition category. He said:
“I feel incredibly proud to have won a Gold medal in the UK finals. It’s my second time winning a Gold, having also won one at the regional Skills Competition Wales event.
“But it’s not all about the winning for me, I enter the competitions to develop my skills and confidence. The biggest benefit is that I continue learning to prepare me for my future.”
Partly funded by the Welsh Government and run by a dedicated network of colleges, work-based learning providers and employer-led organisations, WorldSkills UK aims to inspire and upskill future generations by developing young people’s vocational skills while celebrating their achievements.
Competitions begin at a regional level with Skills Competition Wales which is coordinated by the Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales project, and progress through to national and international competitions.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “I’m thrilled to congratulate Team Wales on their remarkable success at the WorldSkills UK National Finals. Team Wales has once again demonstrated their excellence, emerging as a triumphant nation with an impressive haul of 51 medals, underlining the dedication and talent within our country.”
“Skills competitions not only celebrate individual achievements but also reflect our commitment to nurture the talent of young people across Wales to become the highly skilled workers of the future.
“We’re committed to supporting the next generation, providing opportunities for them to showcase their abilities, expand their horizons and accomplish national recognition. Congratulations to all who took part.”
Ben Blackledge, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said: “It is fantastic to see Team Wales triumphing at the WorldSkills UK National Finals once again this year.
“Our finals not only celebrate the best in young talent but also provide a vital opportunity to see how the skill development in the UK stacks up both domestically and against our international neighbours.
“Skills will continue to be a key differentiator for business both at home and abroad and through our programmes we are working to ensure that all apprentices and students across the UK can gain access to high-quality technical education and apprenticeships that lead to real success for them and the UK as a whole.”
For more information on WorldSkills UK and how to start your journey as a competitor, tutor or employer in Wales, visit https://inspiringskills.gov.wales/.