The UK’s most talented skills champions and winners of the WorldSkills UK national finals have been announced.
The nation’s best apprentices and students were celebrated in an awards ceremony at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall this evening, hosted by presenter Edith Bowman.
The national finals were split into four categories: construction and infrastructure, digital business & creative, engineering & technology, and health, hospitality and lifestyle.
Earlier today, a foundation skills medal ceremony was held to celebrate SEND student competitors in eight skills areas.
Southern Regional College won the most medals for the second year running, taking home 11 medals: four golds, three silvers, and four bronze.
They also topped the table on medal points with 28. Coming in second on medal points was New College Lanarkshire with 26 and City of Glasgow College came third with 18.
A gold medal is worth four points, a silver is worth three points, a bronze is worth two and a highly commended place scores one.
Greater Manchester education providers did well on their home turf too.
The highest-ranked English college on medal points was Trafford College Group, placing joint seventh with 10 medal points. They won one gold and two silvers.
Learners at Manchester Metropolitan University took home one silver and two bronze medals, and Tameside College competitors were awarded three silver medals.
Gold medal winners included Ross Graham from Southern Regional College for automation, Calam Kearney from New College Lanarkshire for digital construction and Katie King, Aime Lovel, Charlie McCarthy, and Scarlett Freyone, all from North East Surrey College of Technology for the digital media production skill.
In the beauty therapy skill, Neve Dunn from Tyne Coast College won gold, while Kaya Mujica and Erin Owens from Pembrokeshire College won the silver and bronze awards respectively.
In floristry, Kirsty Noble from The Floristry School Sheffield won gold. Edel Michael from CAFRE won silver and Emma Rochfort from Warwickshire College Group won bronze. Angela Wake from East Durham College was given a highly commended award.
This is the last floristry competition that the UK will compete in, as it is being removed from WorldSkills UK’s portfolio.
The 194 winners were announced following six months of local and regional qualifiers, culminating in two days of intense competition at the national finals.
More than 6,000 young people registered to take part in the WorldSkills UK competitions, with over 400 making it to the finals.
It is also the first time a national final has been held in one region – this year 11 colleges, universities, and training providers in Greater Manchester hosted competitions across their campuses.
Last year saw over two hundred young people from across the UK celebrated as the nation’s best.
Skills minister Robert Halfon said: “I would like to congratulate all the competitors in the UK WorldSkills final. They have done an amazing job showcasing their exceptional talent.
“They are all winners in my eyes for choosing a pathway that will build their skills and career potential, allowing them to climb the skills ladder of opportunity.”
Ben Blackledge, chief executive of WorldSkills UK said: “This is a life-changing moment for these young people. They are the new generation of high flyers that will give UK employers a competitive edge.
“Our finals not only celebrate the best in young talent, but also provide a vital opportunity to see how skill development in the UK stacks up both domestically and against our international neighbours.”