Will British talent shine?

Posted on 14 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

Sector skills council support for WorldSkills competition ramps up as the selection process for Britain’s representatives gets underway.

This year Britain is hosting the internationally renowned WorldSkills competition for the first time in decades.

In previous year’s the UK’s presence in the engineering and manufacturing elements of the competition has been a rather embarrassing testament to the decline of British industry. This year however government and skills organisations have thrown the force of their support behind encouraging entries.

Manufacturing sector skills council, Semta, has been at the forefront of those promoting involvement in WorldSkills.

Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta commented on his orgnaisation’s involvement and the reaction of employers: “Employers are getting right behind the competition now as it will showcase the very best engineering talent and encourage others to consider careers in this strategically important industry.

“Semta research shows that 32,000 new employees will be needed across the UK engineering, manufacturing and science sectors each year between now and 2016 to cover retirements and industry growth. So we need to convince potential recruits that this is a sector where careers are secure, stimulating and well-rewarded.” Whiteman sees competitions like WorldSkills as prime opportunity for doing this.

Starting today and finishing on Thursday 17th twenty young engineers from a variety of manufacturing and engineering organisation based in the UK, will go head to head for the prized opportunity to represent their nation at the in forthcoming international rounds of the competition.

Many major manufacturers across a range of industries are also backing WorldSkills as industry partners and sponsors as well as entering teams. Electronics and electrical engineering company Siemens is one such example. Unsurprisingly Siemens’ focus is on the use of hardware and software for automation and drives technology within the competition.

Juergen Maier, managing director of Siemens UK Industry Sector emphasized the importance of the event to the UK and to his organisation: “Without doubt, skills in manufacturing and engineering are in short supply, so we need to focus on vocational training and promote the sector’s image. WorldSkills is a great initiative and Semta’s efforts to increase the number of engineering competitors will help drive the message that manufacturing and engineering are a fantastic career choice.”

The Manufacturer will be present at tomorrow’s team selection event in Warwickshire were the opportunity to represent the UK in the electronics, mechanical engineering, mechatronics and mobile robotics categories will be battled out.

This event will also be attended by Skills Minister, John Hayes who has long voiced support for the promotion of vocational skills and lifelong learning.

Other team selection events across the UK inlcude those taking place at Stephenson College, where the construction metal work and welding competitors will be chosen, and Yale College, Wrexham where the CNC milling and manufacturing team challenge national heats will take place.

The finals of WorldSkills London 2011 will take place in London’s ExCel centre on 5-8 October. WorldSkills attracts over 1,000 competitors from 51 countries and regions to compete in 45 different skill areas.

With an audience of 150,000, it aims to recognise the essential contribution that vocational skills make to both economic success and individual fulfilment.