Apprentices showcase UK manufacturing industry at European Finals

Posted on 7 Sep 2023 by The Manufacturer

Apprentices from across the UK are headed to Poland this week to represent the UK manufacturing industry at the EuroSkills Finals in Gdańsk, Poland.

Taking place from 6 – 9 September, EuroSkills is the largest skills competition in Europe attracting over 100, 000 visitors.

The apprentices were selected to join Team UK by WorldSkills UK following their success in the UK-wide competitions.  Competing as part of Team UK are:

Lucy Yelland, 21, and Ben Love, 20, apprentices at Siemens, representing the UK in the Mechatronics Competition.

Ben Hay, 19, who is studying at St. David’s Colleges, Wales representing the UK in the Mechanical Engineering Competition.

Alex Whitemore, 21, an apprentice with Babcock International representing the UK in the CNC Milling Competition.

Charlie Carson, 20, who is studying at Ulster University and Jason Scott, 21, who attends Northern Regional College in Co.Antrim, representing the UK in the Robotics Systems Integration Competition.

Governments and industry will be watching with interest to benchmark how well Team UK performs compared to the country’s main European competitors.  At the event, 600 skilled young professionals, under the age of 25, from 32 member countries including Germany, Switzerland and France will compete.

Their participation in EuroSkills comes as research by WorldSkills UK shows that with a huge number of skilled jobs in the manufacturing industry officially deemed ‘hard to fill’, 51% of employers are not working with training providers to help young people gain industry relevant skills.  An astonishing 83% of young people report facing ‘barriers’ to enter manufacturing with 48% saying that they have never received any information about why or how to do so.  At the same time 60% of young people (16-24) said they would not consider a career in manufacturing.

Ben Blackledge, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK, which selects and trains Team UK to the highest international standard said: ““This will be a life-enhancing opportunity for Team UK, and I wish them the best of luck.

“The EuroSkills Finals provides a valuable mechanism for benchmarking the quality of skills in the manufacturing industry.  Through its competition-based assessment of young people’s skills against European industry standards, we can compare UK standards against those in the rest of Europe and importantly bring that international best practice back to the UK through the programmes we run at WorldSkills UK.

Lucy Yelland, an apprentice engineer at Siemens said: “The training so far has been tough but really enjoyable.  The new skills I have learnt are all things I can use in my apprenticeship.  I’m really looking forward to travelling to Poland and meeting all the apprentices from across Europe who will be competing.”

To secure a place in Team UK, the apprentices and students have been through an exhaustive selection process, taking part in the prestigious WorldSkills UK National Competitions.  Following the European Finals, they will continue their training with WorldSkills UK with the aim of being selected for the WorldSkills Finals which take place in Lyon, France next year.

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