The benefits of taking part in WorldSkills UK Competitions
Education and Skills Competitions Co-ordinator Alex Agyekum explains what competitors, their colleges and employers can gain from taking part in WorldSkills UK Competitions.
Monday, 27 Apr 2020
With just over a week to go until registration closes, we’re gearing up to deliver yet another exciting year of competition activity. Despite the challenges of lockdown, the National Competitions Team are continuing to work alongside our organising partners to ensure that we can still provide a valuable experience for competitors. This period has led us to work more innovatively; adapting competition design and adjusting timescales where possible so that as many learners as possible can still take part.
With all these changes taking place, one thing that remains constant for WorldSkills UK is that competitions and supporting learners and apprentices to excel is what drives our day to day work.
What are the benefits of taking part as a competitor?
At every stage of the journey, WorldSkills UK Competitions contribute to participants’ personal and professional growth or preparation for employment. By making the decision to register for their chosen skill, a competitor demonstrates a willingness to learn and the desire to push their skills to the next level.
The design of National Competitions facilitates this development. As well as building on their technical skill set, we help competitors become more well-rounded individuals by evolving their professional and personal skills throughout the process. Core competencies that are valued amongst employers such as communication, problem-solving, time management and working under pressure are integral to competitions.
From Registration all the way through to the National Final, competitors are continuously raising their own standards and showcasing their drive and determination to succeed. Past competitors have highlighted that competing was an enjoyable experience that exceeded their expectations and had a beneficial impact on their overall attitude to learning or work. Over eight in ten said that competing made them feel more ambitious in pursuing their career. 85% of competitors stated that they had increased their technical skill level and 90% said that competing had given them a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses within their skill area which they can work in when they get back to their college, training provider or employer. Competitors have also been inspired to undertake positive actions including applying for a new or better job, training at a higher level or continuing their competition journey as part of Squad UK.
We also give competitors a platform to become ambassadors and leaders as part of our alumni network. Skills Champions act as role models, sharing their experiences of competing and the benefits they have gained with others.
Why should my college be involved in competitions?
WorldSkills UK competitions play a vital role in teaching and learning environments by bringing learning to life and enhancing core competences through simulated workplace practices. By weaving skills competitions into the core curriculum, providers of vocational education can develop their learners more creatively and use it as a means of assessment. Through encouraging different teaching and learning practices, in line with employers’ needs, colleges can help drive up the quality and profile of vocational education and provide valuable evidence against a range of criteria within the Ofsted Inspection Framework.
Having competition activity within the curriculum and its delivery doesn’t necessarily mean additional work, it’s about enhancing what’s already in place through different ways of learning. The concept can be introduced gradually into the classroom to enable students to get comfortable with the idea competing, as a way of building their skills and confidence.
For staff, embedding competition activity into the curriculum offers greater scope for creativity in teaching, training and learning techniques; a great way of continuing professional development, extending pedagogical skills and knowledge, and, opportunities for more involvement with skills competitions by becoming judges, coaches and experts.
What are the advantages of taking part as an employer or training provider?
Competitions are unique in developing the skills that employers need in their workplace. The mix of technical, employability and personal skills is a key strength of the competition model. By having access to global insights and standards, competitors will be stretched to aspire to the higher-level skills necessary for individuals to compete in the national and global economy and bring that expertise back into the workplace, enhancing existing processes and systems. Experience of preparing competitors for international competitions has greatly influenced our national cycle and ability to benchmark against global standards. Thousands of young people are upskilled each year, helping to meet employers’ skills needs and ultimately impacting the UK’s productivity and economic growth.
The vast majority of organisations that register to enter competitions do so year on year. Once you’ve got the competitions bug, it’s hard to shake and it’s the commitment of those that take part that keeps that engagement going. Competitions impact careers and lives, so register and see where it takes you.