The final countdown to The Skills Show 2013 was officially marked at one of London’s most iconic landmarks — St Mary’s Axe, more widely known as The Gherkin. last Tuesday (8 October).

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock and former Dragons’ Den investor Theo Paphitis launched the show countdown with a call to ‘inspire a new generation of young people to consider opportunities in skills, vocational careers and apprenticeships’.

The Skills Show takes place at the Birmingham NEC and is billed as is the UK’s largest skills and careers event.

In its second year, up to 75,000 people, including primary and secondary school children, FE students and adult learners, are expected to attend the event, which covers an area equivalent to the size of seven football pitches.

Distinguished guests from across industry and the skills sector, had the opportunity to devour delicious breakfast-style canapés at the countdown launch, on Tuesday, October 8, and take in the panoramic views of London’s skyline. They also got to try their hands at new skills.

This included, for example, students from Barking and Dagenham College who hosted an animation ‘Have-a-Go’. Using the latest software, Joseph O’Connor, from Rainham, and Phillip Newberry, from Harold Hill, guided participants through the process of producing their own stop motion animation.

Both Mr Hancock and Skills Show patron Mr Paphitis created their own stop motion animation (pictured, bottom left).

Capel Manor College also had guests using their creative skills by having a go at making floral pin-hole badges. Mr Hancock, along with TV personality and landscape gardener Tommy Walsh got stuck in and made their own (pictured centre, top row).

Mr Hancock said: “The Skills Show is an amazing showcase for the vast variety of skills we have in this country, we need to champion our skills and inspire young people to make their own mark on industries ranging from engineering to web design. Creating a highly skilled nation will support our economy, safeguard our industries and improve the prospects of Britain.”

Mr Paphitis said: “I am passionate about improving skills levels across the UK, not least because our economy needs a skilled workforce to ensure we can be competitive and continue to develop and expand.  Business needs to attract the very best talent in order to succeed, and The Skills Show is a great way for organisations to showcase the opportunities which are available to young people as they enter the world of work.”

The launch also marked the start of The Skills Show Roadshow. Working in partnership with National Express, a Skills Show branded coach will go to 15 UK landmarks during October half-term to raise awareness of the show.


• From November 14 to 16 at Birmingham NEC

• More than 60 World Skills UK national competition finals will be held at the show, which involve more than 600 competitors

• Up to 75,000 visitors are expected over the three-day show

• More than 25,000 items of equipment will be used in the completion finals

• The Skills Show covers an area of 60,000 square meters — equivalent to seven football pitches

• More than 200,000 cups of tea will be sipped

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