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Squad UK
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Gold medal winner at 2019 National Finals
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Southern Regional College

Dylan from Southern Regional College was selected for the Squad UK Wall and Floor Tiling team after winning Gold in the National Finals. He describes how our development programme has given him the skills to succeed in work and life and his career aspirations for the future.

Dylan Calvert is not one to allow difficulties in his early childhood to hold him back “My dad left home when I was young and my mother didn’t care for me or my sister, so we were foster parented by our auntie and uncle.” Despite an uncertain start in life Dylan knew what he wanted to do and worked steadily towards it. He chose to take on an apprenticeship in wall and floor tiling saying, “I did it in high school and I really enjoyed it and now I love it.”

He hadn’t heard of WorldSkills UK Competitions until he was introduced to the idea by his tutor at Southern Regional College, Newry. He first competed in the Northern Ireland Finals in Belfast and went on to the WorldSkills UK National Finals winning a highly-coveted Gold Medal in 2019. The National Finals are held as part of WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC Birmingham and are seen by thousands of spectators.

Competing is something that Dylan enjoys.

“The best thing so far has been being able to see what WorldSkills UK is all about and being able to further my experience and knowledge in my trade area. It has helped me to make sure I do all my work to the highest of standards.”

It’s not technical skills alone that he feels he has developed. “I have learned that you gotta be prepared to go the distance, to work hard and to put everything into your training and into your preparation, these are things you need to do to succeed. Also, that you must stay focused and make sure you wanna learn more.”

It’s this thirst for knowledge and advancement and development of employability skills such as time management, communications, and resilience that employers are crying out for in young recruits. Dylan wants to encourage more young people to enter WorldSkills UK Competitions. “I would say you should have confidence in your ability and that you should believe in yourself and the training you put in.”

Asked how he felt about being selected for Squad UK Dylan takes a balanced view, “I felt like this is really good it’s the next step but I said to myself, I gotta keep my feet on the ground and work hard.”

As a Squad UK member Dylan is undergoing the skill set and mindset training that WorldSkills UK is renowned for in preparing young people to perform in competition at the highest international levels. His continuing commitment to the programme and development could see him selected for Team UK and the chance to compete at EuroSkills or WorldSkills and pit himself against the best of his peers at home and overseas. “It would mean so much because it would be an experience on the big stage and a chance for me to show the world the amount of hard work I have put in.”

Dylan has plans for the future beyond competing, “I want to go self-employed and start my own business and be successful.” He believes that other young people can succeed through technical careers.

“I think that government and educators need to promote every aspect of what they offer in technical education and training, and to encourage young people to take up apprenticeships.”

Johnny Elliot proprietor of Orchard Clay and Rock Tiles and Dylan’s Line Manager is impressed with how he has developed due to his involvement in WorldSkills UK. Competitions “He’s improved his skills and got a lot more confidence now, he’s maturing really well, competing has made a good impact on him, he’s working really well.”

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