Following Coleg y Cymoedd’s record-breaking success at the 2022 WorldSkills UK awards, three of their talented students have been chosen to make up the national long squad in preparation for the world finals.
Set to take place in Lyon in September 2024, the biennial ‘skills Olympics’ finals will see young people compete to be named as World champion across 27 different disciplines, amongst fierce competition from over 80 countries.
The WorldSkills competitions run at regional, national, and international levels, and use international best practice to raise standards in apprenticeships and technical education, so more young people and employers succeed.
For Coleg y Cymoedd learners, they are an opportunity for them to finesse their skills in their chosen field and increase their chances of future employability.
Each competition stage comprises of practical and scenario-based tasks that are judged by a panel of industry experts. The best-performing participants progress to the next stage of the competition.
The 94-member UK long squad was handpicked from hundreds of national heat medallists, and following an 18-month intensive training programme, final representation will be decided in Spring 2024.
Competitors are already part-way through their training which has been designed to prepare them for the pressures of international competition. So far, Cymoedd learners have benefitted from training camps with support from industry partners such as Powerserv Ltd, and Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales. On the weekend of the 25th March 2023, they will begin the first of four WorldSkills UK bootcamps.
There, they will benefit from coaching by sector champions and former medallists to develop their technical and mindset skills in the hopes of being selected for the final UK squad in their respective fields.
Speaking of the learners’ achievements, Enterprise, Skills & Employability Coordinator for Coleg y Cymoedd, Matthew Watts, commented: “Our three learners have already achieved so much in their specialism, they are a credit to Coleg y Cymoedd and we are extremely proud.
We are doing everything possible to facilitate them achieving that last step, by competing at the elite level of skills competitions. It’s a challenging, but also very exciting journey ahead with experiences that they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives.”
The competitors have been supported by their course tutors and the college’s Futures team: a department dedicated to learners’ success once they leave college. This could be through employment, enterprise or higher education. The competition process has involved coordinating training camps, mentorships, and trips across the UK.
Meet Coleg y Cymoedd’s WorldSkills UK longsquad members:
• Tutor – Lee Parry, Construction.
• Award – Gold in the WorldSkills UK Plumbing competition.
“I have found WorldSkills competitions to be challenging but very rewarding. I’m looking forward to the bootcamp: it’s a very exciting opportunity and a chance to further improve my skills.”
• Tutor – Phil Gorman, IT.
• Award – Gold in the WorldSkills UK Network System Administrator – Communication Technologies competition.
“During the previous WorldSkills UK cycle I found areas that I felt I could improve on further. I am pleased to have worked on these with my tutor, Phil Gorman, and the college’s Senior IT Support Officer, Darren Whitehead. I am very grateful for their support as I enter the next stage of my WorldSkills journey.”
• Tutors – Stephen Manning & James Neal, Engineering.
• Award – Highly Commended in the WorldSkills UK Aircraft Maintenance competition.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the training so far. It’s helped me improve lots – in particular my time management when competing and understanding the marking criteria for different tasks. It’s been good preparation for the stages to come.”
To find out more about WorldSkills competitions, visit: WorldSkills UK | Raising Apprenticeships & Technical Education Standards
Rhondda Cynon Taff