Our Head of Corporate Partnerships Gavin Miller explains how working in partnership with like-minded organisations makes it possible for us to inspire, develop and mainstream excellence in technical education, giving young people the best start in work and life. 

If young people succeed, the economy succeeds. However, report after report is showing us that young people are being hit disproportionally by the current health crisis, and that they are most at risk of unemployment following the impending recession.

Our ambition at WorldSkills UK is for young people to get the best start in work and life. To achieve this, we need to inspire, develop and mainstream excellence in technical education and apprenticeships – ambitions we can only realise by working in partnership with business, education and government.

As a not-for-profit organisation investing in a skills-led economic recovery, we develop and deliver partnerships with organisations that stand for the same things – helping the next generation create a better future for the country and prosperity for all However, for the UK to be seen as a true leader in skills, we need to cultivate more partnerships with like-minded organisations that recognise the importance of ‘acting now’.

Shared beliefs, commitment, and a desire to create impact are all key to achieving mutually beneficial partnerships. Below are just a few examples of how WorldSkills UK has partnered with like-minded organisations to tackle some of the most important challenges in the skills sector.

Inspiring Excellence
Despite the current environment presented by Covid-19, WorldSkills UK and BAE Systems recognised that it is more important than ever for young people to be inspired and understand what high-quality career opportunities are available to them. Together, we identified a need to deliver skills and careers advice digitally, and as a result have developed WorldSkills UK LIVE Online, a programme of motivating sessions with inspirational speakers, engaging with thousands of young people and their influencers.

Developing Excellence
We see it as our duty to develop excellence, not just in those skills needed currently, but also in those which will be required by the future economy. Working with employer partners such as Autodesk, Fanuc, Kaplan, CSL, Texecom, and Hikvision, we’ve recently launched new competition-based training programmes in BIM, Industrial Robotics, Electrical Installation, Fire and Security, and Accountancy. These programmes help young people develop a higher technical skills set and more confident mindset that employers need.

Innovating Excellence
Our global reach means that core to our work is bringing back international innovation and mainstreaming it to benefit young people industry and the UK economy. Last year, in partnership with NOCN, a group of construction leaders attended the “skills Olympics” in Russia – WorldSkills Kazan – , meeting with experts from across the globe to learn what skills-leading countries are doing and, more importantly, how the UK can learn from this. As a result, we published the Constructing Smarter report, which has since been embraced by the Construction Leadership Council.

We are passionate about mainstreaming excellence, taking the highest global standards and embedding them in college teaching, ensuring that young people of all backgrounds have access to a world-class education. This passion is shared by leading awarding body NCFE, which is why, after many months of co-development and planning, we recently launched the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence, created to embed world-class training into Further Education.

Removing Barriers
At the heart of all our initiatives is the need to drive positive change, improving diversity and inclusion in our training programmes , as well as the wider technical education sector. That’s why, in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners, we created the Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards, shining a light on good D&I practice and inspiring others to do the same.

Now in its second year, the event recognises outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in technical education, with awards in six different categories. Not only does it celebrate those who go above and beyond to promote diversity and inclusion, but it inspires others to do so also, creating real change and helping more young people get the best start in life, whatever their backgrounds.

Partner with us
When you work with WorldSkills UK, we bring all our expertise, profile and network to the table, meaning our partners receive a return on investment which is way beyond the project’s initial objectives. This is most recently demonstrated by our launch of the Centre of Excellence, which was featured on Sky News and national radio, as well as national and industry press.

Above are just a few examples of the exciting partnerships we’re currently working on. There is no single definition for how we collaborate, co-create, and co-deliver with partners, and we are always looking to challenge the status quo for the good of the young people, industry, and the UK economy.

But we can’t do it alone. So, if you share our belief that all young people should have the best start in work and life, and if you’re passionate about ensuring that young people have the skills required by industry, then the Corporate Partnerships team and I would love to hear from you. Because, together, we can drive change and help the UK to become a world-leading economy.

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