At the National Apprenticeship Awards, the announcement of Team UK for WorldSkills 2011 was met with a standing ovation and thunderous applause, today royalty paid tribute to the rising stars of business and industry.
The Manufacturer is proud to be media partner to the manufacturing team challenge category throughout the remaining stages of WorldSkills London 2011. It was announced yesterday, at the National Apprenticeship Awards in London, that the qualifying team for this category will be formed by Kai Burkitt, Rachel Carr and Sam Andrews, all employees of BAE Systems where they recently completed their apprenticeship qualifications.
The BAE team spoke to TM today of their pride and excitement in winning the chance to represent their country at the WorldSkills finals, which will be held at the Excel Centre in London in October.
Kai said: “I have always wanted to represent my country, either in sport or some other way. This competition means that I can do that while doing my job.” Kai paid tribute to BAE for allowing the team their opportunity adding: “[Our nomination] demonstrates BAE Systems capabilities.”
Kai seemed calm and collected in the face of the spotlight being shone on the young team, although he said he had been a little nervous yesterday night when the 600 odd attendees at the awards ceremony took to their feet to honour Team UKs achievements.
His team mate, Rachel, was more effusive in her excitement: “It’s fantastic – really mind-blowing,” she said.
Despite already being a high achiever, Rachel scooped the BAE Systems Apprentice of the Year Award earlier this year, Miss Carr hopes that participating in WorldSkills will accelerate her career even faster along its success trajectory. “It will motivate me to push myself harder,” she said. “I have been too easy on myself recently.”
With such intense drive within the Team UK manufacturing team challengers success seems like it must be in the bag. Not so, says Rachel who identified a threat in the Korean and Australian team in particular. “Korea bossed it in 2009,” she stated.
Undeterred however, the final cog in the manufacturing team challenge machine, Sam Andrews has a strategy for improvement which he hopes will allow the team to overcome its rivals from around the world. In the team challenge to build, from scratch (including drawing designs, moulding sheet metal building electronics and all processes through to assembly), a mini motorbike to race against opponents Andrews has identified increasing speed while maintain accuracy as being the are where there is room for improvement.
However, the crucial element, he says, will be the team’s ability to project manage the surprise challenge which get thrown at competitors. “We know our bike is good,” says Andrews. “But managing our time will be really important and in the Team UK selections it was the surprise challenges which made the difference.”
The ability of the BAE System’s team to differentiate themselves in this way meant that they just pipped their rivals from Bentley Motors at the post. Giving credit where it is due however Kai said: “It was very competitive. When we started out we thought we were a long way ahead but actually Bentley pushed us right up to the end.”
Having taken up far too much of this ebullient team’s time already, TM was forced to let the skills stars be whisked away at this point as they headed for Buckingham palace where Prince Andrew was due to congratulate the whole Team UK cohort and wish them luck in the next critical stage of this international talent contest.