Check out the video from yesterday’s events here:

Thousands of competitors, experts, delegates, team leaders, organisers, and volunteers packed the Samsung Arena at Leipzig Messe for the opening ceremony of WorldSkills 2013 last night.

Team UK had arrived at the event to rapturous applause from their training managers, supporters and family as the team coach pulled up outside the arena.

Elaine and Peter Terron, from Warrington, parents of Team UK 21-year-old bricklayer Ashley, were there and spoke with FE Week.

“We’re going to Berlin for three days tomorrow [July 3], but we’re coming back for the weekend and the closing ceremony, hopefully to watch Ashley collecting a gold medal,” said Peter, ahead of the ceremony.

“He doesn’t want us here for the actual competition because it might put him off. He wants to stay focused and we also want him concentrating.

“He’s won other competitions and has had to beat others to reach WorldSkills, but this is a step up, and he’s ready for it.

“He’s focused, so if anybody does manage beat him they’ll deserve to win.”

He added: “The opening ceremony will be the first time we’ve seen him since the London send-off event last week.

“We’re immensely proud of him and I’m known for being a bit stoic, but there may be a tear or two when I see him with the rest of the team.”

Elaine said: “I’ll be crying for all of us when I see Ashley.”

The event kicked off with a performance from the local St Thomas Boys’ Choir, followed by ‘Sounds of Germany,’ which was a mixture of both traditional music from Germany’s diverse regions and more contemporary tunes.

Much like that seen at an Olympic opening ceremony, competitors, from the 52 partaking countries and regions, paraded around the arena so they were able to absorb the warm, bordering on boiling, audience reception.

This year, and for the first time, competing nations were able to choose the song they were walked out to. WorldSkills Team UK choose the hit Spectrum by Florence and the Machine, while France opted for Europe’s the Final Countdown, Estonia had James Brown classic I feel good and India went for the Pussycat Dolls’ number one hit Jai Ho.

Hamburg’s DJ Elbe’s talents behind a mixing desk were employed to ensure that the wide breadth of tracks were mixed live on cue.

During their parade, each nation, were accompanied by a youngster from the One School, One Country programme – Team UK had visited a school north east of Leipzig earlier in the day.

Team New Zealand went against the standard and opted to entertain the audience by performing the traditional Haka Maori war dance, more commonly associated with New Zealand rugby.

The ceremony was hosted by Germany’s Hadnet Tesfai and Britain’s Michael Underwood, known in the UK for having presented for the BBC.

He is also a familiar face to many in the WorldSkills community following his stint as Master of Ceremonies at the closing event of WorldSkills London 2011.

In his opening ceremony address, WorldSkills International president Simon Bartley said: “Competitors, experts, delegates, team leaders, organisers, volunteers and all of you here tonight — you are part of what is the biggest international skills event ever held and on behalf of WorldSkills I welcome you to Leipzig and the 42nd WorldSkills competition.”


He added: “Leipzig has promised us the most exciting competition ever and I have no doubt that over the next few days they will deliver what they have promised and much, much more.

“Competitors, if I may, I would like to turn my attention to you — everyone of you is already a winner.

“As you compete to show that you are the best in the world, I congratulate you for what you have already achieved and thank you and congratulate you for what you are going to achieve here and throughout the rest of your lives.”

This was my third opening ceremony at a major skills competition, but my first for a global event.

The atmosphere was truly overwhelming. When Team UK walked out with Spectrum booming out across the stadium, each hair on my arms carrying the Nikon D7000 camera were erect and upright.

That uncontrollable feeling of national pride kicked in. For Team UK, a sudden sense of ‘this is it’ kicked in.

Later today, Team UK and teams from the other 51 nations and regions will embark on the toughest challenge of their lives. Send your message of support to team UK using the #WSTeamUK on twitter.

Here a few more photos from the Opening Ceremony:

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  1. Everyone at FE Week is cheering all the competitors on. Such a privilege to be the official media partner for WorldSkills UK, and I’m really excited about being in Leipzig to see the team on Friday. GO TEAM UK!

  2. Andrew Westoby

    Good luck Team UK. You are outstanding ambassadors for skills and the UK.

    Enjoy every moment of the biggest international skills event ever held.

  3. The Association of Employment and Learning Providers sends its best wishes to WorldSkills Team UK as the competition gets underway. you have all worked fantastically hard to get to Leipzig and you deserve every success. We look forward to seeing many of you on the podium at the weekend.

  4. This is a fantastic opportunity to show the world just what our young people are made of and that our up and coming workforce have the training and skills needed to work on the world stage, good luck for the event

  5. Jane Spurgin

    So delighted and excited to see Team UK represent us all in Leipzig! We’ll be cheering away from here so hope you’ll hear us! Very best wishes and good luck to all from MidKent College.

  6. Janice Snape

    Good luck to all our competitors – especially Ashley from my home town, Warrington. Let’s show the world what our apprentices are made of!

  7. David Walrond

    To Team UK WorldSkills 2013. It’s already a fantastic achievement getting to this stage, and students and staff at Truro and Penwith College wish you good luck as you compete at Leipzig. David Walrond, Principal.

  8. You are the future leaders you will be creating jobs and increase productivity for your nation and creating wealth because you are entreprenuers…..Skill is power…Skill is the key to economic growth. It is awesome to be able to ambassodors for your country, wish you all the best :-).

  9. Peter Stone

    Apprenticeships life, and its 10,000 members sends its support and best wishes to all of the Worldskills UK team, we’ll be supporting you and tweeting about you through out. Go UK Go

  10. Mel WIleman

    Good Luck to all those that are taking part! I hope you enjoy the great experience. There is a reason that you have been selected and that is because you are, ‘The best of the best. Have a great time enjoy every moment!

  11. Sue Bland

    Good luck to everyone taking part. You must be incredibly proud to be representing the UK and we are equally proud to see you all there. You all look fantastic – now win lots of medals!!

  12. Paul Chodha

    Good luck to all the young people taking part at WorldSkills – you’ve achieved fantastic things getting to this level of competition, so can use the experience to great effect in the rest of your lives. Team UK: show everyone what you can do!

  13. debra leighton

    The very best of luck to all our competitors of Worldskills Team UK, well done – you have achieved so much so far. you are already champions in my eyes

  14. John Nutt

    You represent the best that the UK has to offer, make the most of this fantastic opportunity to show the world just how good UK employees can be. Very good luck to you all.

  15. The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production and Supply and the Proskills UK Group wish each and every UK competitor in the WorldSkills 2013 the very best of British. A truly great team of budding crafts men and women who need their skills and potential recognised and supported by all. GO FOR GOLD! We have everything crossed here and look forward to celebrating every achievement. GO UK !

  16. I am really proud to see our young people flying the flag for skills at World Skills 2013. The future of skills in this country is well represented in Leipzig and let the celebration of achievement be a catalyst for further advancement of the Skills agenda.
    These young people are role models and we need to really encourage their development.

  17. Kathryn Brentnall

    Good luck to you all – a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that is great about young people who don’t always get the positive and supportive PR they deserve.

  18. Wishing all Team UK good luck.

    It is always so uplifting to see the students showcasing their brilliant skills and enthusiasm, they are the stars of the show and make me feel very proud.

    Marian French

  19. peter roberts

    Good luck to all who are representing the UK at the WorldSkills competition.Be proud of what you have achieved so far and now go and show the world how good you are !!

  20. Danny Ridgeway

    You have all done fantastically well to get to Leipzig. Now that you are there, show them all what you can do! Best of luck from everyone at Bexley College!

  21. All the very best to everyone representing the UK – well done for all your achievements to get you so far. It’s such a positive vibe from you as ambassadors for your college, the FE sector and for the UK! Go for it!!

  22. Paul Lonsdale

    Good luck to all our UK Competitors, you are fantastic ambassadors for our sector and a positive role model for all our current and future students, give it everything and be proud!

  23. Mike Askew

    Good luck to you all from the Staffordshire Providers Association. It is so great to young people with a passion and skill representing the UK, when many are so critical of your age group. Be proud of what you have achieved and enjoy the experience.

  24. Maureen comiskey - Mantra Learning

    Go team UK – you are making your country proud and demonstrating how brilliant our young people are in this country. Good luck


    Newham College of Further Education congratulate you! what fine embassador’s for our Country, you are all winners and great achievers.

  26. Bob Millington

    A tremendous achievement to have reached this stage so all are to be congratulated. I sure the experience of reaching this stage will be the spur to even grater success this time. What great ambassadors for the importance of skills that form the bed-rock of our economy – and for the country. Good luck from the National Forum of Engineering Centres (NFEC) – we back you all the way!

    Bob Millington
    Director for National Liaison and Regional Coordination

  27. Bob Powell

    All very best wishes to Team UK from the 100+ adult learning provider organisations that are part of the HOLEX network. Bob Powell, HOLEX Chief Officer

  28. Carol Smith

    You are already winners
    Good luck to all participants of UK Team UK, enjoy our time, keep the memories and promote your success
    Best wishes from all at Oakmere Community College, Liverpool

  29. Come on team UK, we are all routing for you and looking forward to the results you will achieve on top of your existing achievements. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and a fire in the belly will enable you to take on the World!

  30. Congratulations to each UK competitor in this week’s World Skills! It is an incredible achievement to get so far in this very prestigious international competition. And congratulations too to all the teachers and trainers involoved – together and by working in partnership with the competitors you have made such an impressive team GB line up possible. All at the Institute for Learning are rooting for UK participants, and we wish you every success. Toni Fazaeli, chief executive, Institute for Learning

  31. BEST OF LUCK Team UK!!! This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your skills on a world stage. Such a phenomenal event to be a part of. I am sure you will do yourselves, your families and your country proud.
    Go Get ‘Em!!

  32. Chris Lang

    Feel really proud to be in Leipzig, have a fantastic time as you have all earned and deserve it, and I am sure you will all demonstrate the amazing skills that the best in the UK have.

  33. David Toulcher

    Good luck to Team UK. Show the world how it’s done, let people see our expertise in our young learners and bring back those trophies!!!!

    Good luck!!!!

  34. Team Uk, you are all our STARTS and we are immensely proud of you. You have already demonstrated your dedication and focus, go that extra mile in Leipzig to show that you are the best. Good luck and our heartfelt best wishes from all of us at West Noiitinghamshire College.

  35. Shauna Dunlop

    You are all winners, what an achievement to be part of Team UK! Enjoy this wonderful experience and remember we are all cheering you on at every opportunity!

  36. Mike Gaston. Principal, Totton College

    You don’t need luck. You are all highly skilled winners already . We are all immensely proud of your achievements and of you representing Team GB. Enjoy the competition and revel in your success! You deserve it.