WorldSkills UK, the organisation which champions world-class apprenticeships and technical skills through skills competitions and experiential careers events, has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Ben Blackledge to Director of Education.

Blackledge, who was previously head of Education and Development, joined the organisation in April 2014 from the Skills Funding Agency, where he was responsible for establishing partnerships with employers for the National Careers Service and working on the development of the government’s careers advice agenda.

“The work of WorldSkills UK inspires and motivates so many young people, which is a joy to be involved with.”

Ben Blackledge, Director of Education

“Ben has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the skills agenda,” explains Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK, “combined with fresh thinking and energetic management. With his drive and determination, I am confident that we will continue provide a comprehensive showcase of UK’s world class apprenticeships and technical skills to the young people who will form the basis of the future workforce. Working in partnership with forward-thinking employers, WorldSkills UK will continue to drive up standards and employability skills to fill the skills needs of UK’s employers, and support the government’s objectives for the apprenticeships agenda.

Blackledge takes over the role from Christine Doubleday, who has been acting as interim director of education for 11 months.

“The work of WorldSkills UK inspires and motivates so many young people, which is a joy to be involved with,” says Ben Blackledge, “at such an important time for the UK, it is crucial that our work continues to inform and engage young people and employers. I am looking forward to expanding and reinforcing the work we do to support business competitiveness, develop young people’s skills and employability and continue to drive excellence in standards, while ensuring that our offering remains fresh, exciting and relevant.

In addition to the WorldSkills UK competitions portfolio, and experiential careers events including The Skills Show, WorldSkills UK also inspires young people through role modelling to challenge stereotypes, as well as using research to support the apprenticeship agenda. 

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