Apprentice elite head to Brazil in search of gold

Posted on 2 Jun 2015 by Jonny Williamson

The very best of British engineers are heading from Birmingham to Brazil for the chance of achieving gold on the global stage at the ‘Skills Olympics’.

Andrew Beel at a computer.
Trained at New College, Lanarkshire, Beel has hopes of coming back from Brazil with a gold medal.

The elite 13-strong team will compete before 100,000 spectators and hundreds of members of the media from around the World.

Years of dedication, hothouse training and success in regional heats have taken the team from the chill of Birmingham (where the UK Finals were held) to the white-hot heat of the WorldSkills Final in Sao Paulo.

Semta – the not for profit organisation, engineering skills for the future which drives the competition in the UK – says WorldSkills epitomises how nations treat their skilled young.

One finalist, Andrew Beel (21) from Glasgow – who works at Pacson Valves in Dundee – has survived a grueling four-year selection process to get to the very pinnacle of his profession.

Trained at New College, Lanarkshire, Beel has hopes of coming back with a gold medal for Mechanical Engineering CAD: “Having dedicated four years of my life to get there – I am determined to do as well as I can.

“I am going for a gold – and I have a realistic chance. The training goes on until I get on the plane in August – and I need to raise my game a little by then.”

Engineering Team UK in full: 

Aeronautical Engineering – Shayne Hadland (24) from RAF Benson

CNC Milling – Michael Watson (21) from Bristol working at GKN Aerospace

CNC Turning – Alex Elton (19) from Nuneaton working at MNB Precision.

Construction MetalWork – Christopher Hanson (21) City Training Bradford

Industrial Electronics – Balint Bogdan (21) from Belfast Metropolitan College,

Manufacturing Team Challenge – Patrick Devanney, Dominic Trees & Christopher Renwick, from Carnaud working for MetalBox

Mechanical Engineering: CAD – Andrew Beel (21) from,Pascon Vales

Mechatronics – Andy Smith & Robyn Clarke (both 22) from Chester working at Toyota Manufacturing UK

Sheet MetalWork Technology – Harley Brian (20) KMF, Newcastle Under Lyme

Welding – Reece Taylor (22) from County Durham working at Dyer Engineering

Beel scooped Gold and was named Best in Nation at EuroSkills 2014 in Lille to add to the Gold medal he won in Birmingham, and has pledged to keep his ‘lucky’ beard for the finals.

“Since I’ve had it I seem to be doing well….it’s not coming off at least until I get back from Brazil.”

CEO of Semta, Ann Watson commented: “Forget the World Cup or the Olympics – this is THE most important competition to be held in Brazil.

“Britain should look and learn – the status of young engineering apprentices is far higher in other countries than it is here.

“If the Government is to achieve the challenging target of 3m new apprentices during this Parliament – we will have to achieve a cultural shift in the country’s attitude to vocational training.

“Young engineers are lauded by other countries – given superstar status, feted by the media – and applauded by the public.

“The standing that engineering holds is often mirrored by the performance of a nation’s manufacturing base and economy – these young people need to be granted iconic status.

“Semta wants other young people to want to emulate TeamUK – and get energised by engineering.”

The competition – which has competitors from 80 nations – takes place from August 11 – 16.