WorldSkills UK works to accelerate the development of young people’s skills from national to world-class standards through UK-wide and international competitions. We are part of WorldSkills, a global movement in 82 countries, and together we organise the bi-annual ‘Skills Olympics’. This gives us unique access to an expert global community through which we can benchmark and gain insights into the skills needed to drive world-class performance.

The most recent international competition in Kazan, Russia, gave us a great opportunity to pilot a new programme, ‘Seeing is Believing’, to extend our learning from the WorldSkills global best practice. We were very pleased to work on this with NOCN Group and their partners and to focus on the construction sector, given its well-recognised skills and productivity challenges.

NOCN’s report found that the construction sector is facing similar skills challenges in many other countries such as skills shortages and difficulty in recruiting and retaining tutors and assessors, but from talking to stakeholders from different countries they also discovered how other countries are tackling these challenges.  For example countries such as Australia, China, France, Germany and Sweden are using skills competitions to drive up standards across their sectors. They also discovered that other countries are further ahead than the UK in adopting digital technologies alongside traditional skills in construction. 

The findings of the programme demonstrate the value that can be gained by sharing experiences and benchmarking with other leading nations. They provide further evidence on how the UK currently compares internationally and what needs to change to improve the skills base of the construction sector, so that it has a more sustainable and productive workforce that is competitive internationally. Many of the learnings can be applied to other industry sectors and they provide us with a template for future programmes to extend further our understanding of how world-class skills can drive excellence in technical education and help boost productivity across the economy. We hope this will encourage more employers and skills leaders to come on board to be part of this global benchmarking community.

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