More than 400 students and apprentices will take part in 64 skills competitions around the country for the WorldSkills UK national finals in November.
After a year without competitions, the finalists will be competing for gold, silver and bronze medals between November 9 and 18.
In contrast to previous years, where the finals have been held in Birmingham, this year the finals are going on the road to 25 venues. The industrial robotics final will take place in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, while the heavy engineering competition will be held in Cardiff.
Dudley, Weston, Kaplan among hosts
Weston College in Somerset will host the web design competition and health and social care will take place at Shipley, in West Yorkshire.
Dudley College’s institute of technology will hold both the automation and mechatronics contests, while Moreton Morrell College in Warwickshire has been given the floristry contest.
Myerscough College in Lancashire will hold part of the landscaping contest, with North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College getting digital media production and visual merchandising. Meanwhile Reaseheath College in Cheshire will host the butchery finals.
Sector skills body Skills for Security based in Worcester will be hosting the electronic security systems tournament while Manchester training provider Kaplan will help to host the partly online accountancy technician event.
The finalists for the foundation skills tournaments for special educational needs and disabilities, additional learning needs or who require additional support will not be announced until October.
WorldSkills hopes finals will ‘inspire young people’
WorldSkills UK deputy chief executive Ben Blackledge said he was “really excited” that this year’s finals will be hosted by colleges, training providers and employers across the UK.
He added: “We hope seeing the finals will inspire young people at those venues to keep developing their technical and employability skills and recognise what can be achieved by developing excellence through skills.”
He congratulated all those who took part in the finals programme this year “after a year without competitions due to the pandemic”. The fact that 3,000 people applied in April and May to take part was “really encouraging”, he said.
The winners will be announced at ceremony hosted by Steph McGovern on the set of her Channel 4 show Packed Lunch on November 26.
WorldSkills competitions will enhance practical skills
The competitions have been designed by industry experts. WorldSkills UK says they are intended to enhance the practical skills and knowledge taught on training courses through assessment of an individual’s employability attributes against criteria in a competitive, timed environment.
The last national finals were held at Birmingham’s NEC in November 2019. The winners got the chance to be selected for the squad that will become Team UK and compete at WorldSkills Shanghai in 2022.
The 2019 finals were, as with previous years, combined with WorldSkills UK LIVE, a major careers and skills event.
It was cancelled in 2020 and replaced with a virtual event consisting of careers talks and speeches from sector leaders. The LIVE careers event has also been cancelled in 2021 and will be replaced by a two-day virtual event in October.
You can find details on this year’s competitions and for all the competitors here.