The skills minister has praised the “dedication and expertise” of the 20 young people representing the UK in this year’s EuroSkills ahead of the competition taking place next week.
Robert Halfon congratulated the team and wished them and good luck ahead of the three-day tournament in Gdańsk, Poland.
“I want to send my congratulations and good luck to Team UK at EuroSkills in Gdańsk, who are ready to showcase the pinnacle of British skills, ranging from cooking to industrial robotics,” said Halfon.
The 20 gifted young tradespeople from across the UK will compete in 17 skills such as cabinet making, hairdressing and web development,. They will look to beat the 2018 results, where the UK won one gold medal, three bronze medals and 7 Medallions for Excellence.
Halfon said that the competitors’ skills they will bring to the competition are a “testament to the excellence of our skills education”.
“WorldSkills UK is fostering the next generation of skilled workers and ensuring equal access to opportunities, whilst championing technical education globally,” he added.
The event marks the first EuroSkills competition since 2018, which was held in Budapest, Hungary. But the leadup to this year’s EuroSkills for the UK has been nothing if not rocky.
After Hungary, the 2020 event, due to be held in the Austrian city of Graz, was pushed back by a year due to the pandemic.
In an unprecedented decision, the UK pulled out of the competition because of “too much ongoing uncertainty” and changing conditions of Covid security – the first time the UK has pulled out of any WorldSkills competition in its 73-year history.
The eighth biennial event was originally scheduled to take place in St Petersburg, Russia this August, but was postponed after Russia and Belarus were suspended from the WorldSkills and EuroSkills 2023 competitions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last year, Poland was chosen to host EuroSkills 2023. With the event now finally within sight, well-wishers from across the industry have come together to support Team UK.
“Seeing representatives from Team UK competing with the very best in the world really serves to highlight the skills and talent we have across the sector,” said Emma Meredith, director of skills policy and global engagement at the Association of Colleges.
“These students are the very people who will be helping to drive the country’s economy and businesses forward, now and in the future.”
Paul Warner, director of strategy and business development at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said: “I want to wish a massive good luck to Team UK as they embark on their trip to Gdansk for next week’s EuroSkills. This year, learners from some of AELP members are taking part in the UK’s entry and we look forward to seeing how they get on.”
Former Team UK members also came out to wish the team good luck, such as web developer Lewis Newton, who was a Team UK member at the WorldSkills Special Edition 2022. “As we count down the days to EuroSkills, I wish Team UK the very best of luck,” he said.
Employers such as Siemens also recanted their pride in the competitors Ben Love and Lucy Yelland for their achievement in making Team UK.
Joanne Gogerly, head of Siemens Professional Education UK & Nordics at Siemens Plc, said: “Well done to Lucy and Ben, Siemens is extremely proud of your progress in this competition. Good luck in Poland.”
“Lucy and Ben have been fantastic since they entered the WorldSkills UK National Final in Mechatronics only a year ago,” Professor Mehmet Karamanoglu from Middlesex University said. “Really proud of your achievement, Good luck in Gdansk.”
Team UK will fly to Gdansk on September 4 in preparation for the competitions which will run between September 6 and 8.
FE Week is Team UK’s media partner and will be joining them for the whole week and will be producing an on-location supplement following the closing ceremony on September 9.
Keep up with all the action from the competition on feweek.co.uk or on Twitter with the handle @FEWeek and the #TeamUK hashtag.