Welsh competitors from South Wales have been awarded 17 medals for showcasing outstanding talent in their industry during this month’s WorldSkills UK National Finals.
The WorldSkills UK National Finals saw 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.
Team Wales came home triumphant, with 51 out of 115 strong Welsh competitors winning medals, including 8 gold, 21 silver, 15 bronze, and 7 highly commended.
Competition categories range from aircraft maintenance to forensic science and more, with competitors from South Wales excelling in Creative Media Makeup, Hairdressing, the Manufacturing Team Challenge and Industrial Robotics.
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.
Joseph Dancer (pictured above) studies at Cardiff & Vale College and competed in the IT Support Technician competition.
He said: “I really enjoyed competing at this year’s WorldSkills UK National Finals. The start of the competition was quite challenging, but I’m really pleased with the result. It’s also great seeing Wales do so well on a UK stage.
“The biggest benefit of the competitions is meeting people in the industry and building your confidence. I’d recommend anyone to give it a go!”
Chloe Walford from Pyle is an apprentice for Sony and won a Silver medal in the Industrial Robotics category.
She said: “It feels amazing to have won a Silver at this year’s UK National Finals. I’ve gained a lot of new skills throughout the process and learned a great deal about myself. When I first joined the competitions, I was so shy, but competing has given me the confidence to speak to new people and to showcase my talent.
“It’s also helped me in my apprenticeship and challenged me to develop my problem-solving skills. I’m proud of myself and everything our team has achieved.”
Meaghan Gwillim from Llanharan won the Bronze medal in the Foundation Skills: Horticulture category this year.
The Foundation Skills competitions have been created to showcase the skills of students with special educational needs and disabilities, additional learning needs, or who require additional support for learning.
Meaghan said: “My self-confidence has improved massively since being in skills competitions and winning a medal has made me feel even more confident and proud of myself.
“I’ve had fun learning new things and going places I wouldn’t have gone to if I hadn’t been involved in skills competitions. The biggest benefit for me is that I can show people who may not realise how capable I am.”
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/.