Team UK – The UK’s top young students & apprentices (and former apprentices) – flew home from Russia covered in gold and glory.

The 37 women and men, the best in their nations, won a total of 19 medals – 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal and 15 medallions of excellence (achieving world class standard) at the ‘Skills Olympics’.

The impressive results represent an amazing success for WorldSkills UK, which selects and trains the team and works to mainstream excellence in education and industry.

They were testament to the remarkable breadth and depth of skills that the UK offers the World.

Haydn Jakes aged 23 from Cambridge won Gold in Aircraft Maintenance and Rebecca West aged 22 from Lewes won Gold in Beauty Therapy.

Car Painter Conor McKevitt, aged 22 from Mallusk, Newtonabbey, Northern Ireland, won silver and Hairdresser Phoebe McLavy, aged 20 from Carmarthen won bronze.

Fifteen Team UK competitors won the coveted Medallions of Excellence which means they are of ‘World class standard’.

They were: 

  • Electrical Installer Thomas Lewis, 21 from Maesteg,  
  • Plumber Thomas Thomas, aged 20 from Morfa Bychan,
  • CNC Miller Elliott Dawson, aged 22 from Blackburn,
  • Mechatronics competitors Jack Dakin and Danny Slater, both 25 from Burnaston,
  • Florist Elizabeth Newcombe, aged 22 from Dunston,
  • Painter & Decorator Callum Bonner, aged 21 from Alloa,
  • Wall and Floor Tiler Mark Scott, aged 22 from Glasgow,
  • Joiner Christopher Caine, aged 21 from Haverfordwest,
  • Lab Technician Tonicha Roberts, aged 19 from Chorley,
  • Bricklayer Lewis Greenwood, aged 21 from York
  • Landscape Gardeners Sam Taylor, aged 19 from Preston and Shea McFerran aged 20 from Antrim
  • Cook Sam Everton, aged 21, from Haverfordwest
  • Restaurant Services expert Collette Gorvett, aged 20 from Swansea
  • Refrigeration & Airconditioning engineer Orlando Rawlings, aged 21 from Grimsby
  • Electronics Expert Thomas Andrews, aged 21 from Alton

The event, the 45th WorldSkills Finals, which takes place every two years, is considered to be the ultimate litmus test to compare countries’ readiness to compete economically.

More than a quarter of a million people gathered in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan for the spectacular closing ceremony which was addressed by President Vladimir Putin.

The WorldSkills Opening and Closing Ceremonies were televised in the UK for the very first time.

Haydn, was overcome with emotion having been crowned the best young Aircraft Maintenance engineer in the World.

He said:” This means the world to me – I can’t stop shaking. I have sacrificed such a lot, deferred my degree and it cost me the chance of being a Royal Airforce pilot – which was a lifelong dream.

“Now I will move heaven and earth to pass on my skills and experiences to others in the system. I am already giving lectures to school children – and I will certainly be doing a lot more now.”

Beauty Therapist Rebecca West wiped away tears as she thanked everyone that helped her be the very best.

She said: “I had no idea I was in the running to get gold – this will change my life.  There are so many people that I want to thank from the bottom of my heart. My training manager Jenna Wrathall Bailey (MBE) everyone of my colleagues at Bespoke You – who were so understanding about me taking time to train in far flung places.

“I have put thousands of hours in to being the best – now I intend to celebrate.”

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, CEO of WorldSkills UK said: “This is a fantastic result for the team and the UK as a whole – I couldn’t be prouder. This was the ultimate test and they stepped up to the mark”

 “The members of Team UK, all under 25 years, championed the UK focus on skills development in front of a global audience, sending a strong message that the UK is a world-class place to invest, do business and create jobs. 

 “Governments, education and industry need to continue to work with us to help make sure the UK stays at the cutting edge of global best practice in skills development.”

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