New WorldSkills UK trustees want ‘world-class skills boosts’

Four new WorldSkills UK board members will be 'strong advocates' for education and skills

Four new WorldSkills UK board members will be 'strong advocates' for education and skills

A communications expert, a lawyer and a university vice chancellor are among new appointments to the board of WorldSkills UK. 

Included among the new trustees, announced today, is Mark Farrar, who has previously led of the Association of Accounting Technicians and the Construction Industry Training Board as chief executive. Farrar is also on the board of exams watchdog Ofqual and was a governor at Barking and Dagenham College until July 2021. 

“Raising standards in training through international benchmarking will not only boost productivity and competitiveness, but also help attract the foreign investment the UK needs to create high wage jobs in growth sectors like digital, green tech, advanced manufacturing and life sciences,” he said. 

The announcement comes as WorldSkills UK today closes the registration period for providers and employers to register students and apprentices for the UK national skills competitions, which kick off with qualifying rounds from next month and culminate with national finals in November.

The new board members will be joining the organisation at it prepares to improve the UK’s position in the international skills competition medal tables at WorldSkills Lyon next year. 

One of the first tasks for the new board members will be to appoint a successor to Neil Bentley-Gockmann, WorldSkills UK’s chief executive, who is stepping down in May after seven years. 

Joining Farrar is Audrey Nelson, a strategic communications specialist who has held senior communications roles in organisations such as the CBI and the Home Office. Nelson said she “looks forward to demonstrating how investment in world-class skills boosts economic growth and is a catalyst for innovation and opportunity”.

Also enlisted are new trustees Justin Rix and Sean Wellington. Rix, a partner at professional services firm Grant Thornton UK LLP, said he is “driven by a passion for getting the very best out of people and helping to empower rising stars.”

“I am really pleased to have joined an organisation that thrives on providing opportunities and developing talent,” he said.

And Wellington, a former engineering apprentice and now provost and deputy vice-chancellor of the Middlesex University, said: “The competition-based training programmes run by WorldSkills UK give young people a real opportunity to boost their skills and their career prospects.”

(Feature image L-R: Justin Rix, Sean Wellington, Mark Farrar and Audrey Nelson)

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