More than 70,000 visitors are expected to pack out the sixth annual Skills Show in Birmingham this week, and qualification for next year’s EuroSkills competition and the continental leg of a major cooking competition are high on the agenda.
The event, held at the NEC arena, will run until Saturday, November 18, and sees 500 apprentices and students competing in 55 national skills competitions, from whom the squad for EuroSkills Budapest 2018 and Kazan 2019 will be selected.
There will also be a cook-off on Saturday between five top chefs bidding to represent Britain in the prestigious international Bocuse d’Or competition. Brian Turner, the UK team president, a famous TV chef in his own right, will lead the jury.
Dr Neil Bentley, the chief executive of WorldSkills UK, is looking forward to the event, which is free to attend and starting to take shape as seen on Twitter.
— WorldSkills UK (@worldskillsuk) November 13, 2017
“Over the three days of the Skills Show we will welcome over 70,000 people from across the country, young people can speak with leading employers, colleges and independent training providers about opportunities available to them and also try their hand at a wide range of skills,” he said.
“We have a great showcase with the WorldSkills UK national finals taking place,” he added. “We will celebrate our most talented apprentices and students, some of whom will go onto represent the UK at international skills competitions.”
The five chefs competing in the Bocuse d’Or are Adam Thomason, the executive chef for Deloitte London, Chris Hill, the premier sous chef, at The Ritz in London, Frederick Forster, the executive chef, at the Don restaurant in London; Tom Phillips, head chef at Restaurant Story, and Tony Wright, a senior lecturer at University College Birmingham.
They will have to prepare a fish dish using Fjord trout and lobster as the main products, and a meat platter using a short saddle of lamb.
The successful candidate will go on to compete in the European final of the Bocuse d’Or in Turin, Italy in June next year.
There will also be over 25,000 job and training opportunities on offer from exhibitors including BAE Systems, Dyson, HS2, Health Education England and colleges including BMet, South Cheshire College and West Cheshire College and South and City Birmingham and Bournville College.
Mr Bentley said this year would also see “our very first Youth Summit, where young people will be presenting their ideas on careers advice to a senior panel of industry, education and government representatives”.
This will take place on the opening day and involve around 100 young people, aged 16 to 24, discussing the challenges of careers advice. It will feature Kieran Milne, a young entrepreneur, and Ashleigh Porter, the winner of BBC Young Apprentice.