While TeamUK’s impressive haul of medals at EuroSkills steals the headlines, the benefits of competing run much deeper, explains Maureen Evans-Olsen.

Winning isn’t everything; but wanting to is, according to Vince Lombardi.

The phrase has certainly stuck and looking at the jubilant celebrations that took place at the closing ceremony of EuroSkills Lille 2014, it seems Lombardi might have been onto something. The passion and hunger for success was evident in every young person present.

Of course, no-one would turn down a medal and the UK is continuing its success in performing well at international skills competitions.

At EuroSkills Lille 2014, which took place from October 1 to 5, the UK won three gold medals, six silver medals and three medallions for excellence in skills ranging from automobile technology and mechanical engineering CAD to visual merchandising and hairdressing. This result placed the UK fifth in Europe.

However, the value of entering international skills competitions lies not
only in winning that celebrated gold medal, but in sharing the knowledge of how the success was achieved.

By assessing the way all of the 450 young skilled workers from 25 countries in Europe prepared for and performed at EuroSkills, we are able to benchmark the apprenticeship programmes in this country against those in other countries.

Analysing the way each country addresses the tasks set in the competition and the criteria for assessment and marking offers real insight into how standards in apprenticeships and training can be raised.

It is this attention to detail in the assessment that supports our ambition for apprenticeships to be world class, ensuring that the programme is rigorous, responsive and meets the needs of employers and the future economy.

Training managers are able to transfer their knowledge, experience and new techniques learned to their lectures and classes at the colleges where they teach

All of the 21 members of TeamUK for EuroSkills Lille 2014 were part of Squad UK for WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 and were supported in their training for the competition by dedicated training managers.

The 21 competitors were at the beginning of their development programme and were all eager for success.

The role of their training manager was to prepare and deliver a detailed training and development programme based on their knowledge and experience of the skill.

Their experience comes from working with the countries and regions who are members of WorldSkills and of their knowledge garnered from the high class apprenticeship programmes in this country and others.

The competitor journey starts with a series of regional and national competitions where the ultimate goal is a gold medal in the WorldSkills UK national final competitions held at The Skills Show each year.

When a competitor reaches this pinnacle in the UK they may be selected for a place in Squad UK which affords them a specialist development programme, a dedicated
training manager and an opportunity to be selected for TeamUK.

Training managers work with Squad and TeamUK to guide their development and raise their performance to an equivalent level six and beyond, however it is not just the competitors that benefit from this training.

The training managers are able to transfer their knowledge, experience and new techniques learned to their lectures and classes at the colleges where they teach.

Building on the work from the expert network of training managers, the Association of Colleges recently launched the WorldSkills vocational masterclass programme.

The aim of this programme is to demonstrate that the coaching and higher level teaching strategies used to train the WorldSkills competitors can provide all learners and teaching staff with an opportunity to achieve success through a world-class education and training system.

Through the collective success in the WorldSkills UK national competitions and WorldSkills international competitions, Find a Future is inspiring young people about the different careers that exist and providing them with the chance to unlock their potential and get excited about the world of work.

Visit www.theskillsshow.com to register for The Skills Show, which takes place from November 13 to 15, at the NEC Birmingham.