It’s only a couple of months away now . . . Jaine Bolton counts down to WorldSkills Leipzig 2013

This summer, 34 of the UK’s most talented young people will head to Germany to take on the best from across the world at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013.

WorldSkills is the largest international skills competition in the world. Every two years around 1,000 young people aged 18 to 25 come together to compete for medals in more than 40 different skills, from electrical installation to hairdressing, from mechanical engineering to stonemasonry, from welding to cooking.

At WorldSkills Leipzig, which will be held from July 2 -7, we are confident that Team UK, competing in 30 skills, will build on the success of the last WorldSkills competition, held in London in 2011.  At that contest, Team UK won five gold, two silver and six bronze medals, plus 12 medallions for excellence. We were placed fifth in international ranking — ahead of France, Germany and China — the UK’s best result in the contest’s  62-year history.

With a little under two months to go until Leipzig, Team UK members are in the final stages of their intensive training, working with the WorldSkills UK trainers and performance coaches to ensure that they are fully prepared for the competition.

As a key element of the training programme, the team at Loughborough University hosted a bespoke four-day ‘preparation camp’, much like the one the university devised for the London 2012 Olympics Team GB.

Team UK members joined in activities designed to help them better understand the role that mind and body play in performance”

Team UK members participated in activities that included orienteering, presentation, media skills and team building exercises, as well as classes in Yogalates, sports technology, psychology and nutrition; all designed to help them better understand the role that mind and body play in performance.

Olympic bronze high jump medallist Robbie Grabarz and his coach Fuzz Ahmed, Team GB water polo team member Alexander Parsonage and 2012 Paralympics GB swimmer Emma Hollis were all there to inspire squad members. Robbie, Alexander and Emma freely shared techniques and tips that helped to optimise their performance in the highly pressurised London Olympics.  We were delighted that they will continue to support and encourage the competitors as they make their final preparations and head off to Leipzig.

Each Team UK member’s story provides the inspiration for young people from across the country to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level. Hard work and determination, with dedicated expert advice and support from the UK’s training experts and performance coaches, have played a significant part of the journey of every competitor. But they all acknowledge the ongoing support from their employers, as well as the colleges and training providers that first helped them to get involved in skills competitions.

The next two months will be incredibly busy and challenging for everyone in Team UK. We encourage everyone to join Robbie, Emma, Fuzz and Alexander to get behind the team and show their full support just like the nation did for our Olympic team last year.

Find out more about Team UK for WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 at www.worldskillsuk.org, follow their journey @WorldSkillsUK on Twitter and use the #WSTeamUK hashtag to show your support.

Jaine Bolton, director of the National Apprenticeship Service and UK official delegate to WorldSkills International