Show your support for the bid at FEWeek.co.uk/BackABid and on social media using #BackABid.

This is the decade when we can ignite a passion for skills in the UK. But it will require a bold ambition and all corners of the UK to come together.

Last summer we crashed out of the top 10 medal table at WorldSkills in Russia, behind France, Germany and Austria. Team UK in previous years have sat comfortably in the top 10.  We are the 6th largest economy on the globe, but just managed to hit position 12 at WorldSkills 2019. It was rather disappointing. Whilst we had some world class performances from the team, it wasn’t enough.

WorldSkills UK have had a tough decade, like many, with continuous uncertainty around funding and subsequent budget cuts.

As a sector we should unite behind reinvesting in WorldSkills UK and a bold vision for their next decade. The government, in recent years, have banged the drum for their support of upskilling the nation and reinvesting in the skills system. What we need now is a common ambition that we can all unite around.

FE Week is today launching our ‘Back A Bid’ campaign for the UK to host WorldSkills in 2027.

The chief executive of WordSkills UK used this paper earlier in January to suggest that their organisation was starting to look at whether we could host a future competition.

It would be an amazing opportunity for our sector and the UK to play host to the global skills community. 

A bid is an opportunity for our sector to truly think big and demonstrate a bold ambition. We can exploit the process of bidding, and hopefully hosting, as a catalyst for change. Adopting an ambition to implement international benchmarking across the sector and thus creating a stronger economic future for more young people.

Winning the bid would also see the UK host ministers and, business and education leaders from across the globe as part of an international skills summit. A platform from which we can demonstrate we are developing the skills needed to attract investment and subsequently jobs for our highly-skilled learners.

The cost of hosting the competition would be around £100 million. Funding could be sourced from three areas, one third coming from government, one third from sponsorship and the remainder coming from delegate packages and competition fees. Not an eye watering sum of money when you consider the short and longer term impact hosting could have.

The next step for government is to announce their support of a feasibility study, which of course will require public money and time. The Secretary of State appears to be supportive, in principle, but he will need some encouragement. That’s where the sector and your stakeholders come in!

The UK last hosted the competition in 2011, a major legacy from 2011 was the annual WorldSkills UK Live at Birmingham’s NEC.

It’s early doors, but now is your opportunity to help shape what 2027’s legacy could be. The sector needs to demonstrate there is a healthy appetite working together on a bid and leaping back up the international medal table.

Show your support for the bid at FEWeek.co.uk/BackABid and on social media using #BackABid.