Praise from TV’s Steph McGovern as international stage beckons for Welsh stars

Sixteen brilliant young Welsh students and apprentices have struck gold at the UK’s most prestigious skills competition following months of intensive training (full table of winners below).


They triumphed in a wide range of disciplines from plumbing to aircraft maintenance and 3D digital game art at the WorldSkills UK National Finals.


Designed by industry experts, the competitions help young people grow personally and professionally by developing their technical and employability skills, as well as shining a light on the amazing skilled potential in the UK.


Victory in the national finals means the winners now have the possibility of competing at the “international skills olympics” in France in 2024. The Team UK squad for the prestigious international tournament will be announced early next year.


Aircraft Maintenance winner Rosie Boddy is originally from Farnborough and aged 20. She works for Airbus UK in Broughton. She said: “I was watching the medal ceremony at home and I couldn’t believe it when my name was announced. I wanted to take part to put myself up against the best in the UK and see how I fared. I can’t believe I came out top of the pile and I am really excited to now see what opportunities competing in the WorldSkills UK final has opened up.”


Plumbing gold winner Ruben Duggan from Blackwood who studies at Coleg Y Cymoedd is 20. He said: “I couldn’t believe it when Steph McGovern read out that I won gold at the UK National Finals. It was a real pinch me moment. I’ve put hundreds of hours into training and it has been hard work, however it’s all been worth it.”


Ryan Williams from Pentwyn studies at Coleg Gwent and is 18. He said: It’s amazing to get this reward after investing so much time and effort. Massive amount of thanks goes to my tutors as I couldn’t have done this without their fantastic help and support.”


More than 500 students and apprentices took part in finals in over 60 disciplines held at seven venues across the UK earlier this month. The full list of winners is available here.


Finalists underwent a seven-month process of regional heats and intensive training before competing in the finals. They learned of their victory during a special live programme from Channel 4’s Packed Lunch studios, presented by Steph McGovern.


Steph McGovern said: “Sixteen gold medallists from Wales – that is just brilliant. We need to ensure that their fantastic achievements encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Skills have the power to transform lives and economies. These competitions show how the UK is brimming with brilliant young people doing exceptional things.”


Deputy CEO of WorldSkills UK, Ben Blackledge said: “What a performance. Being crowned best in the UK is no mean feat, especially with all the disruptions and difficulties competitors have had to overcome in recent years.


“Everyone who put themselves forward for the WorldSkills UK competitions this year is a real inspiration and should be proud of their efforts. Skills are the lifeblood of every economy, creating high quality jobs, rewarding careers, inward investment and growth.”


WorldSkills UK specialises in selecting and training young people to represent the UK at international competitions. The unique insights of global best practice it gathers at those events are shared with young people and educators to help develop and deliver the skills needed to bring high-quality training and jobs to more parts of the UK.


The competitions are popular with entrants, who say they have helped developed their technical and personal skills:

  • 97% of previous entrants say they improved their technical skills
  • 93% said they improved their personal and employability skills
  • 90% said they could apply the skills they developed.


Interviews with, and images of, winners are available.

3D Digital Game Art Ryan Williams Coleg Gwent – Crosskeys campus 18
Aircraft Maintenance Rosie Boddy Airbus UK 20
Automotive Body Repair Ieuan Morris-Brown Cardiff and Vale College 20
Beauty Therapy Practitioner Isabella Bailey Coleg Cambria – Deeside campus 19
Creative Media Make Up Chloe Vicary Coleg Gwent – Crosskeys campus 19
Hairdressing Ceri Duke Coleg Gwent – Newport campus 31
Network Infrastructure Technician Cameron Thompson Coleg Cambria – Yale campus 25
Network Systems Administrator Cole Peters Coleg Y Cymoedd – Nantgarw campus 19
Plumbing Ruben Duggan Coleg Y Cymoedd – YstradMynach campus 20
Foundation Skills: Health and Social Care Margaret McCauley Coleg Sir Gar – Graig campus 19
Foundation Skills: Horticulture Morgan Scarfe Pembrokeshire College 18
Foundation Skills: IT Software Solutions for Business Sam Smith Coleg Gwent – Newport campus 19
Foundation Skills: Media Sam McCann Bridgend College 19
Foundation Skills: Media Jack Sharp Bridgend College 20
Foundation Skills: Media Scott Herbert Bridgend College 18
Foundation Skills: Media Ethan Davies Bridgend College 17


WorldSkills UK contact: Dan Ashley 07738 718 905 and