WorldSkills UK was a very active participant in Apprenticeship Debate fringe meetings at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences.
Brexit is a real opportunity for skills in this country and the delivery of world-class apprenticeships and technical skills is essential if our companies are to successfully compete globally, attract more inward investment and trade and create more jobs. It’s why at WorldSkills UK we emphasise the power of skills competitions and their role in inspiring our apprentices to develop their technical and employability skills to the highest possible standard.
This was reflected in Shadow Skills Minister Gordon Marsden’s comments in the debate at the Labour Party Conference when he spoke of the importance of skills competitions for the apprenticeships agenda and ‘strongly recommended’ attending The Skills Show to see the national finals of this year’s competitions.
Successful apprenticeships, of course, need to be strongly backed by business and it was great to hear from major players at the Conferences, like rail manufacturer Alstom, that they are keen to get more involved in the work of WorldSkills UK.
Putting apprenticeships on the same footing as gaining a degree and boosting social mobility was another key theme. Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Robert Halfon spoke at the Conservative Party Conference about the urgent need to transform the level of prestige in which an apprenticeship is held. He believes that unless a successful apprentice is perceived in the same way as a graduate of one of our top universities, we won’t achieve the mindset change necessary to make policies a success. It is WorldSkills UK’s mission to make this happen.