Ukrainian Asylum Seeker One Of 130 Welsh Competitors Battling To Become UK Skills Champions

This month, a record number of young people from Wales will be competing in the WorldSkills UK National finals, making up over a quarter of the overall attendance.

The talented individuals will be competing to become UK Skills Champions across 45 different categories in six different locations from 14-18 November.

Cardiff and Vale College will be showcasing their high-class facilities by hosting 15 of the 63 National Finals including Digital Media Production, Aircraft Maintenance, and Health and Social Care.

The college will also be hosting all nine of this year’s Foundation Skills competitions, which are designed for students who have a statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities.

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.

 

Aram Elbadian, 19, is going for gold in the Wall and Floor Tiling category at the finals in Edinburgh this month. He will also be competing for a place in squad UK for WorldSkills Lyon 2024.

Originally from Ukraine, he moved to Cardiff when he was 12 years old in 2014 after conflict broke out in regions near where he lived.

He said: “My parents and I came over to the UK as asylum seekers and I went straight into a class to learn English before progressing to mainstream school. I am now at Cardiff and Vale College where I have been for a year.”

Aram with judges, teachers and competitors from the qualifers.

It was at the college that his tiling talents were spotted by his tutor, Leigh Randall, who put him forward for his first competition.

Since then, Aram has competed in a qualifying competition, finishing first in his category and securing himself a place in the WorldSkills UK National Finals.

He added, “I’ve loved pushing myself out of my comfort zone and testing my abilities. When I first came to Wales I could only say a few English words, so I’m really proud of how far I have come – and now I’ve made it to a UK-level competition.”

 

Aram has also been able to send the good news back home to his family in Ukraine.

He said, “Most of my family are still living in Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. They’re still experiencing a lot of the war and it’s scary not being able to get through to them with the electricity blackouts, but we keep in touch as much as we can.

“They have been so happy and supportive of my news, and it has been so nice to be able to send some much-needed positivity their way given what they’re facing day-to-day. They are really proud of my achievements.”

 

Aram’s sights are also set on his next career step, with him recently securing a place at Bath University to study for a degree in Electrical Electronic Engineering.

He said: “I love being in Wales. There have been so many different opportunities open to me since I moved here, like being able to compete in skills competitions. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.”

 

Wales’ 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 help raise awareness of the power of skills to transform lives, economies, and society. I’m delighted a record-breaking number of Welsh competitors have made it to the finals and I wish all the competitors the best of luck, both in this important competition and for their future.”

The finals follow several National Qualifiers, where young people from across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been competing to demonstrate their top-class skills and expertise in their categories.

For those unable to attend the events in person, WorldSkills UK will be streaming the competition action and interviews with previous winners live.

Winners will be announced on Friday 25 November via an online broadcast hosted by the former apprentice and TV journalist Steph McGovern, who will be handing out medals from the studio of her Packed Lunch daytime show.

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/

 

Details on how to watch the competition live stream will be shared ahead of the competition on the @WorldSkillsUKW Twitter page.