WorldSkills international best practice in action

WorldSkills UK is a member of WorldSkills a global movement representing 88 countries and nations. Our experts are exposed to innovations in training and assessment approaches and emerging trends in each of the sectors they represent. As a result when developing qualifications and planning curriculum design and delivery  in the UK, they bring an international perspective and draw on the WorldSkills Occupational Standards. The standards are updated after every competition in consultation with employers and industry sectors from all over the world. The result is improved training and education, higher professional standards and increased employment opportunities for students and apprentices from all backgrounds.

Here are some examples in the words of the training managers themselves which include examples of their impact and influence in transferring global best practice to raise the bar for students and apprentices across the UK, through their input into the development and delivery of higher technical qualifications and apprenticeship standards. If you would like to find out more please contact

Digital Construction

Michael McGuire

Lecturer in Digital Construction – Glasgow Caledonian University

Digital construction: HNC/ HND Computer aided architectural design and technology

We’ve been able to reflect on the best practice in vocational schools in Austria, France and Germany and how they have responded to the need for developing practical skills in level 4 and 5 students. By focusing on hands-on demonstration and assessment (in line with the WorldSkills Occupational Standard), and working in close partnership with leading edge employers in the field: Baker Hicks, Keppie Design, Holmes Miller and Digital Guerrilla, students completing the course will have the current practical and problem solving skills employers need. In fact the HND programme has consistently achieved 100% progression to employment.

I’ve been involved in my role as chief expert in international competition, in the process  of updating the WorldSkills Occupational Standards. These are used as the internationally-accepted gold standard ensuring that skills developed are relevant and help future-proof young professionals. As an example, Autodesk Takeoff, is not yet being used by UK companies but we are confident it will be, so use of this software has been written into the WorldSkills Occupational Standards to be assessed at the WorldSkills Competition in Lyon in 2024, as well as in the programme delivery of the HND. So a key benefit is that the skills of students remain current as they progress through their course and when they start work they are driving innovation and adding value for their employers from day one.

Cyber Security

Kamadchisundaram Sureshkumar

Lecturer in Cyber Security – Arden University

Cyber security Technical Professional Integrated Degree Apprenticeship Standard (Level 6)

As a member of IFATE I am involved with the decisions and recommendations of new apprenticeship standards and the development of the end point assessment for the Level 6 cyber security technical professional integrated degree apprenticeship standard.

I use two key assessment techniques which are a practical test and a professional technical discussion. Both of these techniques have been drawn from the WorldSkills Occupational Standards for cyber security and represent the global consensus of the standard required for occupational excellence. Mirroring the international standards, the end point assessment tests skills including work organisation and management, communication and interpersonal skills, secure systems design, operations, maintenance and management. The practical assessment of these specialist, technical and generic skills that comprise intermediate work roles across the world, mean that apprentices have the  most relevant, leading edge skills that are in international demand.

Robot Systems Integration

Karla Kosch

Lecturer in Engineering – Northern Regional College

Robot systems integration Foundation Degree (Level 4/5)

The robot systems integration team at Northern Regional College deliver FANUC industrial robotics modules developed for the Foundation Degree to ensure students and apprentices have acquired skills and understanding of the systems and equipment infrastructure used in industry.

Focussing on the FANUC robot cell design and Roboguide offline programming, we developed training materials and assessments for both higher-level apprentices and full-time higher education students, to ensure practical skills are developed and graduating students and apprentices have sector-relevant skills.

The programming of a robot cell has been specifically designed in response to best practice observed during a European pressure test. The impact is that a 400-line programme design has been simplified to just 36 lines, including many sub-programmes.

This best practice in efficiency and reducing costly cycle times, means that engineers or programmers checking, maintaining or repairing the cell will very quickly understand what the robot cell has been programmed to do and this reduces waste, significantly raising productivity and efficiency.

The Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland has requested that all six colleges deliver the same model of employer-aligned Higher Level Apprenticeship and Foundation Degree courses in automation and robotics.


Steve Williams

Curriculum Leader Electronic Engineering – Gower College

Electronics:  L3 Trailblazer for the Electronics Consumer Service and Installation Industry Standard

I contributed to development of the technical elements in which all of the EAL awarding body suite of qualifications have been mapped to the WorldSkills Occupational Standards.

The end point assessment has been written as one large pressure test as informed by international best practice from international competitions. A pressure test is part of the international competition journey: it is where competitors test their skills against their international counterparts in a small ‘friendly’ competition to benchmark their technical ability and test their capability to perform higher level technical tasks at speed under the pressure of competition conditions.

The end point assessment also incorporates the wider professional skills included in the WorldSkills Occupational Standards such as the work organisation and management element requiring high-level communication, organisation, professional presentation and problem-solving skills.

Apprentices currently finishing their programmes have impressed their employer who says, “The transformation is unbelievable”. Several other apprentices in the cohort have been head-hunted by other organisations for the standard of their skills.

Another example of where international best practice has informed curriculum development at Gower College, is the ‘lab in a box’ initiative (developed during the pandemic to train competitors for virtual international pressure tests) which includes online training and development activities to ensure excellent engagement, whilst studying remotely.

Mechanical Engineering CAD

Barry Skea

Dean for Learning and Teaching – New College Lanarkshire

HNC/ HND Mechanical Engineering CAD

We’ve been able to develop this qualification based on international best practice through being fully-aligned with the WorldSkills Occupational Standard for mechanical engineering CAD. So, we’ve set a higher standard in terms of pace and productivity. As a result students and competitors are stretched and challenged to deliver a higher standard of technical accuracy to much tighter timescales.

We’ve also introduced the importance of mindset development as an element of skills and preparation for joining the workplace. Self-awareness, resilience and time management are among the psychological characteristics of developing excellence which are the focus of additional development activity as part of this qualification.

This means students and competitors begin employment at the standard and speed employers need, and add value from their first day on the job. Plus those who undertake mindset development are more rounded, self-aware and able to problem-solve effectively in what is a rapidly developing sector.

Examples of the expanding influence our extensive network is making to champion world-class standards in skills development.

Qualification typeSkill area/ sectorNameRole
Employer Industry Board for Building Services EngineeringRefrigeration and Air ConditioningMark ForsythEnsure industry’s skills needs are met in new qualification development
Creative Craft (Upholstery, Furniture, Ceramics, Textiles and Jewellery) T Level panelFurniture and Cabinet MakingChristian NotleyEnsure industry’s skills needs are met in new qualification development
City & Guilds Construction T Level Panel ConstructionPeter WaltersEnsure industry’s skills needs are met in new qualification development
IfATE Hair and Beauty T Level Panel Hair and BeautyJenna WrathallEnsure industry’s skills needs are met in new qualification development
IfATE Digital route panelCyber Security Suresh KumarEnsure industry’s skills needs are met in new qualification development
IfATE Care Services route panelHealth & Social Care Jason WarrinerEnsure industry’s skills needs are met in new qualification development
L3 Trailblazer (6090-50) for Refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systemsRefrigeration and Air ConditioningMark ForsythCo-authored qualification or standard
L2 & L3 Trailblazer for Furniture and UpholsteryFurniture and Cabinet MakingChristian NotleyCo-authored qualification or standard
L3 Trailblazer for the Electrical Electronics Consumer Service and Installation Industry Standard ST0150 ElectronicsStephen WilliamsDeveloped qualification or standard
Chairman: Home Electrical Electronics Skills Training Forum (HEEST) - variousElectronicsStephen WilliamsDeveloped qualification or standard
Up to L3 City and Guilds Apprenticeship Standards Joinery and Site CarpentryAndy PengellyDeveloped qualification or standard
L2 Standard Painting and Decorating Association Education CommitteePainting and DecoratingPeter WaltersInformed development of qualification or standard
Scottish Association of Painting Craft Teachers (SAPCT) - variousPainting and DecoratingMichael SwanInformed development of qualification or standard
Vocational qualifications
SQA L4/5 Digital Construction Digital ConstructionMichael McGuireAuthored qualification or standard
L3-7 Electronic Commerce (EC) Council Organisation – various Cyber SecuritySuresh KumarAuthored qualification or standard
L1 – L3 City & Guilds Furniture, wood machining and upholstery qualifications - variousFurniture and Cabinet MakingChristian NotleyCo-authored qualification or standard
SQA HND Computer Aided Draughting and Design (Lead Academic/Chair)Computer Aided Draughting and DesignBarry SkeaDeveloped qualification or standard
SQA HND Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology (Lead Academic/Chair)Computer Aided Architectural Design and TechnologyBarry SkeaDeveloped qualification or standard
City and Guilds VRQ Hospitality and Catering - variousRestaurant ServicesShyam PatiarDeveloped qualification or standard
City & Guilds Joinery & Carpentry - various Joinery and CarpentryAndy PengellyDeveloped qualification or standard
L3-7 Vendor academy programmes include; CISCO, Microsoft, PaloAlto, VMware, HuaweiIT and DigitalSuresh KumarDeveloped qualification or standard
Qualification Wales: Engineering - variousEngineeringStephen WilliamsInformed development of qualification or standard
Department for Education Northern Ireland Hospitality Skills Curriculum Hub - variousCookingSean OwensInformed development of qualification or standard
L2 Professional Chef Diploma Food and Drink Qualifications (FDQ) CookingSean OwensInformed development of qualification or standard
L3 FDQ Culinary Arts exams - variousCookingSean OwensInformed development of qualification or standard
NVQs Culinary Arts for Sectoral Skills Council in Hospitality - variousCookingSean OwensInformed development of qualification or standard
Qualification Wales Advisory Group 2021 - variousCookingSean OwensInformed development of qualification or standard
Higher technical qualifications
L4/5 HTQ Furniture Production and DesignFurniture and Cabinet MakingChristian NotleyDeveloped qualification or standard
Degree qualification with Belfast Metropolitan College and Open University in 2022CookingSean OwensCo-authored qualification or standard
Civilian and military aviation training policies and qualifications - variousAircraft MaintenanceJames CallaghanInformed development of qualification or standard
HABIA - Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (Board of Directors)Hair and BeautyJenna WrathallInformed development of qualification or standard
Skills Active for Active Leisure, Learning and Well-Being (Board of Directors)BeautyJenna WrathallInformed development of qualification or standard
Member of National Hair and Beauty FederationHairdressingLinzi WeareInformed development of qualification or standard
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