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What are WorldSkills UK Competitions?

Each competition presents a series of tests, designed by industry experts, which focus on the highest UK and International standards. Apprentices from across the country register with WorldSkills UK Competitions to compete against other like-minded individuals in a skill of their choosing.  

They assess an individual’s knowledge, practical skills and employability attributes against a set of strict criteria. Focusing on the highest international standards, employers and training providers can use the activities to benchmark their own apprenticeship and training programmes.

The UK competes in international skills competitions, taking part in EuroSkills and WorldSkills. Using the knowledge gained from these competitions is used to inform apprenticeship standards in this country. The UK delivered its best ever performance at WorldSkills São Paulo 2015, coming seventh in the international rankings, ahead of high scorers, France and Germany. The UK’s success continued with three Gold, one Silver and three Bronze medals and eight Medallions of Excellence won in the 2016 EuroSkills in Gothenburg.

Our programme of activity and the UK’s participation in international competitions is supported by the UK Government, Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and partners in industry and further education. Apprenticeship levy funds can be used to pay for training, education and assessment, including participation in a skills competition that directly contributes to achieving the apprenticeship standard if agreed by the employer/college/provider.

How do they work?  

Like the Olympics, competition activity begins at grass roots level and competitors are able to progress to competing on the international stage in front of over 200,000 people. Find out more about the Competitor Journey

Content can be tailored to meet local skills demands, enabling employers and training providers to introduce the benefits of using a competitive environment to test and build on an apprentice’s knowledge and skills. 

Apprentices can enter the National Qualifiers, the entry route into the UK National Finals. Taking place at The Skills Show, these competitions see entrants compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in their chosen skill. 

Exceptional competitors from the National Finals could go on to compete at European and global competitions. Competitors are supported in their training by their employer and a dedicated UK Training Manager to help prepare them for competing against the best in Europe and the world.

Past competitors are invited to become a WorldSkills UK Champion, and join a network of professionals who act as inspirational role models delivering careers advice to young people.  

Why get involved?

  • Employers can use the competitions to benchmark their apprenticeship and training programmes with organisations in the UK and globally.
  • Over 95% of competitors believed that taking part in competitions had improved their technical and employability skills.
  • Training Providers state that competitions raise standards in teaching and motivate learners to be ambitious in their pursuit of high level skills.
  • 94% of competitors said they had advanced their career options more than their peers who had not taken part in competitions. 
  • Over a two-year cycle of training, qualifying and competing in international WorldSkills Competitions, UK competitors receive the equivalent of four to five years' of professional development.
  • 80% of competitors felt competing had increased their confidence, team working, time management and ability to work under pressure. 
  • Competing internationally allows the UK to benchmark its apprenticeship programme, enabling employers to equip their apprentices with the right skills to help UK businesses compete better globally. 

The information in this section is from an independent evaluation of The Skills Show in 2015. 

The training that our competitors Robyn and Andy received as they prepared for WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 has given them a wider knowledge and skills base and has also broadened their outlook to the world of engineering which can only help them in their careers at Toyota.

Pete Spence, Technical Skills Development Specialist, Toyota

Being selected for Team UK was an amazing achievement in itself, but to win a Gold medal and to be named the best plumber in the world is such an incredible feeling. The amount of training that I have put in over the last four years has really paid off.

Gary Doyle, former apprentice and Gold Medallist in Plumbing, WorldSkills São Paulo 2015

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