Team UK for WorldSkills Lyon 2024 revealed

Over 30 young skills champions will head to France to represent the UK this September

Over 30 young skills champions will head to France to represent the UK this September

More than 30 of the UK’s most talented young skilled professionals have been selected to compete at WorldSkills Lyon later this year.

The 31-strong team of young apprentices and students will battle against their global counterparts in 27 disciplines including cyber security, digital construction and hairdressing in the “skills Olympics” competition in France this September.

The young skills champions will fly out just hours after the Olympic flame for this year’s summer Olympics is dimmed in Paris.

They will join around 1,500 other young people from 65 countries to win gold, silver and bronze medals across 62 different skills competitions.

Ben Blackledge, chief executive of WorldSkills UK, which trains and selects competitors from all four nations, said: “WorldSkills Lyon 2024 – think Olympic Games – where the prize is the world-class skills that UK employers are crying out for.  

“The UK’s participation in the ‘skills Olympics’ will provide vital insights to ensure we can develop our apprenticeship and training programmes, to make them truly world-class.”

The team has been selected from a cohort of 94 skilled young people forming Squad UK. Squad members have been subjected to an 18-month intensive training programme to prepare them for the global competition.

Some of the squad were selected to take part in last year’s EuroSkills competition in Gdańsk, Poland, and took home nine medals, including one gold and two bronze.

EuroSkills Gdansk 2023 Opening ceremony <br>Photo Jacek Sadowski WorldSkills Europe

Meet the team

Charlotte Lloyd, an apprentice who works at Reds Hair Company and won bronze at EuroSkills, said she cried when she heard she got into Team UK to compete in hairdressing in Lyon.

Charlotte Lloyd won bronze in hairdressing at EuroSkills is in Team UK

“I have done over 800 hours in training over three years – it’s a long process, and I’m still learning,” she told FE Week.

“I am aiming for a top-three finish at the world finals in Lyon.”

Meanwhile, Simonas Brasas and Mikhaela Rain Roy are jointly representing the UK in Industry 4.0.

Rain Roy is studying robotics at Middlesex University whilst Brasas has a BTEC in engineering from Barking and Dagenham College and is studying at Kingston University.

Brasas said: “I still can’t quite believe it.  This is a very demanding multi-skilled discipline, being able to proceed further is going to be quite interesting now.  We can’t wait.” 

Rain Roy added: “This is definitely a life-changing moment for me.”

All members of Team UK will undergo an Olympic-style training regime, overseen by their training managers in their respective skills to prepare for the intense week of competition.

“You are so invested in the students, I have seen them grow for the last four years, to become competent and confident competitors, so driven,” said Karla Kosch, a training manager in Robot Systems Integration and a lecturer at Northern Regional College.

Mikhaela Rain Roy and Simonas Brasas are competing in Industry 40 in WorldSkills Lyon

Skills minister Luke Hall said: “Best of luck to our remarkably talented competitors at this summer’s ‘skills Olympics’. 

“WorldSkills is an excellent opportunity to prove on the global stage that we have built a world class skills and apprenticeship system. I am hoping for a podium sweep from our apprentices and students in Lyon.”

Lead-up to Lyon

The last WorldSkills competition was scheduled to take place in Shanghai, China in 2021, but was delayed to the following year and subsequently cancelled due to the pandemic restrictions in the country at the time.

Instead, a special edition was held in late 2022, where 15 countries from the WorldSkills global network hosted skills competitions across 26 cities, two of which were in Wales (Cardiff and Wrexham).

Team UK finished in tenth place that year and achieved its best ever fourth-place finish in digital skills where they finished above Germany and China.

Shanghai will now host WorldSkills 2026.

WorldSkills Lyon 2024, the 47th WorldSkills Competition, will take place from September 10 to 15.

Earlier this year, education giant Pearson was announced as the official partner of Team UK for WorldSkills Lyon.

FE Week is the official media partner for WorldSkills UK and Team UK.

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  1. Congratulations and best of luck WorldSkills Team UK!
    Ben and Lucy – we are all sending you our best for mechatronics at Team Tameside. You will all have an amazing time competing against the best in the world. It’ll be the experience of a lifetime!