As a past competitor and Assistant Training Manager for WorldSkills UK in brickwork, when my employer said they would support my trip to Kazan for the world final, I jumped at the opportunity. I visited WorldSkills Kazan as part of the WorldSkills UK team to present our live daily update show from the studio on the competition floor which was a first for WorldSkills UK and certainly a first for myself! My expectations of the competition were high knowing the investment that Russia had put into developing their team over a relatively short duration and with the understanding that President Putin was due at the closing ceremony I knew it wouldn’t disappoint … and it certainly never did! The opening ceremony set the scene for the competition and then my first visit to the Expo centre left me feeling nothing but impressed by the scale and efficient set up that the Russians had put on for the 45th WorldSkills competition.

One main thing I took away from the competition is the understanding and need for investment in the training of our Team UK in order for them to achieve what we all want them to set out and achieve which is the holy grail of a Gold medal. It’s evident with other countries such as China and Russia, where big investment in individuals is made – be that financial investment or simply investment of time over a prolonged period – really pays off and is the key to producing a well-rehearsed competition ready competitor. Furthermore, I feel our Team UK competitors that we send out to WorldSkills competitions should be celebrated more upon their return as they as the elite of their professions and they are role models that set goals for others to aspire to reach.

Every time I go to an international event, one thing that inspires me is listening to each competitors own story on how they got their place in Team UK and got to the finals. Everyone has faced their own struggles and had to make sacrifices along the way. It’s really inspiring to listen to people talk so passionately about what they love doing and are so proud to represent their country on a world stage. This leaves you feeling all kinds of emotions, particularly when you can watch those individuals compete and turn their dreams into a reality by going on to achieve a medal at the end. You end up sharing the journey with the competitors and that is such a special thing to be a part of and one that cannot be replicated and an experience like no other.

It really is true what everyone says about the WorldSkills bug, once you go and experience it for yourself you can’t get enough and I’m already looking forward to Shanghai 2021!

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