Competitors representing the UK in this year’s EuroSkills event in Poland have had a “smooth” first day of the competition.
The city of Gdansk is hosting the three-day intensive competition, which has drawn in nearly 600 young skilled people from across the continent specialising in 42 different skills, ranging from CNC milling to patisserie.
Following the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening, Wednesday marked the first official day of the competition. Members of the public came in swathes to the Amber Expo Hall and outside tents to cheer on competitors from their respective countries.
Digital construction manager Michael McGuire told FE Week that competitor Isabelle Barron was “doing spectacularly well” on her task for day one, which entailed digitally constructing a building similar to her training.
The day has been so smooth, he says, that McGuire has not had much to do as chief expert.
“As chief expert, it’s my role to firefight after any issues and I’ve had nothing to do. I’ve been able to stand and just watch all the competitors actually enjoy the competition and test their skills.”
He added: “The tasks of today have been very smooth, very straightforward.”
“We’ve trained for this,” McGuire added.
Prior to the event, Barron had undergone an international pressure test set by a former Chinese champion, to test her limits and manage expectations for EuroSkills.
Barron works at architecture firm Chapman Taylor and her training is provided by Sheffield Hallam University. McGuire is a lecturer in the department of construction and surveying at Glasgow Caledonian University.
‘I’m very happy with myself’
Meanwhile, competitor in electrical installations Daniel Knox told FE Week after his first day of tasks that he was “very happy” with what he achieved.
“Today went really well,” he said.
Knox, 21, works at GP Electrical and Security, and his apprenticeship training is provided by South West College in Northern Ireland. His training manager is Geoff Shaw from Cardiff & Vale College.
“I’ve done more than I thought I was going to do so very happy with myself.”
Over the three-day competition, Knox has to install a whole mini workshop which he anticipates will be finished by Friday morning.
For the past six months, Knox has worked tirelessly to train for EuroSkills and that has required some sacrifices, mainly spending less time with friends and watching less TV.
“There’s been a few nights where friends ask you to meet you up or something, you have to say no sometimes because this is an absolute priority.”
Elsewhere, despite a minor injury hiccup, Sean Owens, training manager for Samantha Watkins told FE Week that the competitor in the cooking competition had a good first day.
Owens, who is also chief expert in the skill, said that Watkins had a minor interruption when she sliced her finger during the day, but was unfazed and continued with her tasks after being patched up.
Watkins is a commis chef at the Gordon Ramsay 1890 Restaurant at the Savoy Hotel in London. Her training is provided by Loughborough College. Sean Owens is culinary training officer at Ulster University, Belfast campus.
Follow the FE Week twitter feed (@FEWeek) for live coverage of the competition and closing ceremony this Saturday and send good luck messages to the team using the hashtag #TeamUK.
FE Week is the official media partner for Team UK and WorldSkills UK.