Gold medal winner George Callow (Picture by Ellis O'Brien)

One of last year’s WorldSkills gold medal winners George Callow (Pic: Ellis O’Brien)

Apprentices and learners are being urged to put their skills to the test and fight for a spot on the plane to Abu Dhabi in 2017  by entering this year’s WorldSkills UK competitions.

Entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den panellist Theo Paphitis is leading the call for entries, after registration opened today. Applicants have until March 21 to enter.

Competitors who are successful in the regional heats will battle it out to be rated the best in the UK at The Skills Show — November 13 to 15 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham — before the prospect of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi in 2017 is on offer.

Competitions cover a massive range of skills, from aromatherapy and forensic science to plumbing and web development.

Mr Paphitis, who is patron of The Skills Show, said: “The WorldSkills UK competitions showcase and celebrate the high levels of talent entering the UK’s workforce.  They reward real talent and I hope this will show everyone how apprenticeships and vocational training can lead to worthwhile careers.

“If you or anyone you know has what it takes to become the best in their industry, then please encourage them to get involved.”

Outstanding national finalists from the competitions who meet the qualifying criteria could be selected to represent the UK at the international WorldSkills competition in Brazil next year.

At last year’s event in Leipzig, Germany, the UK took two gold medals, one of which was won by cabinet maker George Callow (pictured).

He said:  “I would definitely recommend competing in WorldSkills UK competitions — it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.  Career-wise it sets you up and through the experience of taking part you are ahead of your peers.”

Selection and training for TeamUK 2015 is well underway ahead of next year’s World Skills competition in São Paulo, Brazil.

FE Week will bring you all the latest development on Team UK 2015 and 2017 as they prepare to compete on the global stage.

Visit to enter.