BACKABID

Students and staff from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College have endorsed WorldSkills UK’s ambition to host the international ‘Skills Olympics’ in 2027. They are adding their voice to colleges across the UK who are urging Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP to support a bid and help to put the country’s technical skills on the world map.

The college community is supporting a campaign led by FE Week for the UK to host the global skills community in the belief that it would act as a catalyst for change in the sector, helping to create a stronger economic future for young people. If successful, the WorldSkills competition would showcase the UK’s commitment to high quality skills development to businesses, education leaders and ministers from all over the world.

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire has a strong track record in WorldSkills competitions and triumphed at the national finals of WorldSkills UK LIVE last November putting the college in first place in England after winning five Gold medals, six Silver and three Bronze medals overall. In addition, three students and alumni have been offered the chance to represent the UK on the world’s stage following their selection for Squad UK as part of the international WorldSkills competition in Shanghai in 2021.

WorldSkills features over 1,000 of the world’s most talented apprentices and students competing in over 50 different skills as they battle it out to be named the world champion in their chosen skill.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, who is also deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills UK, said “Hosting the international WorldSkills competition would enable the UK to benefit from global best practice, research and insight heralding a step-change in commitment to the UK government’s ambition to deliver world class standards in technical education.

“We have always believed that competitions are an excellent way of enabling students to practice real-world employability skills, inspiring them to get enthusiastic about their future career options. Our college has a fantastic track record in the WorldSkills UK competition and we’re proud that three of our students have been offered the opportunity to join Squad UK. They have joined the WorldSkills UK Talent Development Programme Taking and are already benefiting from intensive coaching ahead of the Shanghai event. This unique experience will open doors for them and help them to gain fast track access to amazing careers.”

College students are also keen to back the bid and believe that bringing WorldSkills to the UK would help showcase their talents to future employers. Former student and Nuneaton chef Chloe Lloyd-Hughes who qualified in professional cookery last year, is due to compete in the culinary arts category for a place in Team UK. Chloe said, “I am really enjoying being part of the WorldSkills family and have already started my bootcamp training that is preparing me to compete in Shanghai in 2021. I am meeting peers from across the UK and learning new techniques from industry experts that are really going to boost my experience and improve my CV. It would be fantastic to see this competition hosted by UK because it would raise the profile of skills like mine and showcase the talents of young people.”

Ellie Ruff, 17 from Nuneaton, a student of graphic design at the college’s creative arts Hinckley Campus, is competing for a place in the visual merchandising team. Ellie believes that success in skills competitions will help her to secure a place at the university of her choice. Ellie said, “I never thought that I would have an opportunity like this and bringing WorldSkills to the UK could potentially provide so many chances for other young people to develop top quality skills and gain access to really amazing careers.”

Supporters are being asked to comment using the #BackABid hashtag on social media and add their voice to support for the bid.