An impressive 130 Welsh competitors have been announced as finalists for the WorldSkills UK National Finals taking place this November, with 60 hailing from South Wales.
The announcement follows a series of regional competitions that took place across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, hosting a string of talented young people.
Wales has maintained its top spot of having the highest number of competitors of all UK regions since 2015. This year, over 1 in 4 of the finalists are Welsh and with two categories still yet to be announced, it’s incredibly likely this number will increase.
WorldSkills UK supports young people to take part in competition-led training, assessment, and benchmarking, with competitors from all four nations competing against one another to achieve national acclaim in their chosen category.
Over five thousand young people registered to take part in this year’s WorldSkills UK competitions and have been competing since April, with 130 Welsh competitors successfully demonstrating their skills to an incredibly high standard throughout the National Qualifiers.
The competitions challenge competitors in four different sectors to be named the best in their skill including Construction & Infrastructure, Engineering & Technology, Health, Hospitality and Lifestyle, and Digital, Business & Creative.
The WorldSkills UK National Finals will be held across six venues in the UK, including Wales’ own Cardiff and Vale College. The college is hosting a total of 14 finals – the highest number of any venue across the UK – in competition categories such as Health and Social Care, Digital Media Production, Automotive Technology and Heavy Vehicle Engineering.
Foundation Skills Competitions are also being held at the college in categories including Hairdressing, Restaurant Services, and IT Software Solutions for Business.
Foundation Skills Competitions are designed for students who have a statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and allow students to showcase their skills, knowledge and behaviours that highlight their independence and employability skills.
Welsh finalist, Ruby Pile, studies at Cardiff and Vale College and will be competing in the Restaurant Service category. She said: “It feels amazing to be representing Wales at the UK National finals and I’m really looking forward to showing the other competitors what I have to offer.”
“Taking part in skills competitions has allowed me to develop as a person. In high school, I lacked a lot of confidence, but since competing I’ve been able to show a different side of me. It’s an amazing feeling to have come out of my shell and know what I’m capable of. It’s also opened some amazing opportunities for me.”
“My favourite part of competing has been making my family, teachers, and friends proud. I know whatever the outcome, it’s a massive achievement to get to where I am now.”
Minister of Economy, Vaughan Gething stated: “The Welsh Government is committed to investing in our future generations. By providing our young people with opportunities to develop new skills, we’re providing them with the tools they need to build successful future careers. This will support them to be at the forefront of helping our Welsh businesses to innovate and grow.
“The WorldSkills competitions bring together some of the most creative, skilled, and driven young people in Wales, and helps raise awareness of the power of skills to transform lives, economies, and society. So, I’m delighted 130 Welsh competitors have made it to the finals. I wish all the competitors the best of luck, both in this important competition and for their future.”
WorldSkills UK, Deputy CEO Ben Blackledge, said: Ben Blackledge, Deputy CEO of WorldSkills UK said: “I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who registered for our competitions this year, especially those who are now going on to compete in November’s finals.
“We are really excited to be taking the show on the road again this year with finals hosted by colleges across the UK. We hope seeing the finals in person or catching up with our online content will inspire more young people to develop their skills and have a go at one of our competitions next year.
“Our competitions and competition-based development programmes equip apprentices and students with the lifelong, world-class skills that will help increase UK productivity and competitiveness.”
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 led by the Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales project, and progress through to national and international competitions.
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/