Our International Competitions Manager Zoe Cookson caught up with Electronics Training Manager Steve Williams to find out how hosting a virtual training event with young people from the UK and China has been a ‘game changer’ for the skill.

The Department for International Trade approached us to facilitate a jointly planned project with China, with the aim of developing an event to share good practice and showcase skills competitions.

The event spanned two days (18-19 November), with the first day focused on sharing good practice relating to WorldSkills Competitions. The second day was an electronics competition between Gower College Swansea and a Chinese college, involving three Squad UK competitors, two others from Gower College Swansea and five from the Chinese College. The two-hour electronics task was live streamed, and Steve Williams, electronics training manager and creator of the task, used a hidden test project followed by live marking and judging with an awards presentation to the highest performers.

Steve Williams shares his insights from the event:

“This project has proven to be a game changer for my skill. It provided the opportunity for the electronics Squad members to gauge the effectiveness of the remote training during lockdown. It was a real opportunity to put the Squad under pressure whilst also developing the Gower College Swansea competition development squad. Since the competition the Squad are even more engaged and cannot wait to gauge their skills against other top countries.

“The planning was incredibly important and having the opportunity to work with Chinese experts and get my project agreed was extremely useful. The contacts made with our Chinese friends, has left legacy opportunities that will be pursued. After all the Chinese are world champions in this skill and I am sure there are many opportunities for my skill to learn from their methodologies.

“From my perspective it has really helped to demonstrate that we are leading the way in innovation in remote competition. The event also put the work up front and centre with senior managers within Gower College Swansea and the Welsh government has made contact with the college wanting more information which has now happened.

“I would recommend that other skills embrace these opportunities.”

The event was a huge success and has provided a structured framework for future events and gained invaluable global insights. Our Squad UK competitors also achieved Gold and Silver Medals in the competition, showing their strong skill knowledge in this challenging environment.

With the current climate, teamwork prevailed, great relationships were formed, and an inspiring event was delivered. Due to the restrictions there has been a distinct lack of face-to-face events or training days for most skills. This event gave our Squad members a focus and an event to aim towards, which was hugely beneficial. It was the first of its kind and something that will support future events and it is the start to an exciting new way of working.

We’d like to thank all involved in this event including the support from Steve Williams and his team at Gower College Swansea.

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