WorldSkills UK Volunteer and Alumni Manager Thomas Shirt explains why our Skills Champions have such an important role to play in inspiring the next generation.

What makes our Skills Champions so special? At our recent training days held in London, this was a question that came up time and time again. Particularly during a workshop in which newly inducted Champions were asked to perfect their elevator pitches to introduce themselves and immediately engage young people with their stories.

In truth, there isn’t one simple answer; summarising their incredible journeys to date and capturing the seminal moments and all the learning they have taken from competition and condensing this into two minutes takes real skill. As I so often am, I was amazed by the unique and diverse backgrounds of the group of people in front of me and their ability to stand up and engage an entire room with a relatable and powerful narrative outlining their journey to employment.

In short, the answer to the question is that our Skills Champions are role models, inspiring and successful in their fields, yet relatable and relevant to students sitting in classrooms up and down the country. Their path to excellence hasn’t always been a linear one, frequently faced with hardships and setbacks, they all have shown resilience and character to get where they want to be.

At WorldSkills UK our mission is to inspire and mainstream excellence in young people, and Skills Champions are our most powerful tool to achieve that. With regular social get-togethers, annual CPD training programmes and the opportunity to inspire the next generation, our Skills Champions programme is open to all former competitors – as one of our Champions recently put it:

Why wouldn’t you want to join, it’s like one big family and it’s your chance to give back!

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