Isaac from Nescot College, is part of the Squad UK IT Network Systems Administration team. He describes how taking part in WorldSkills UK Competitions has developed his skills and how he felt to be selected for Squad UK and the chance to compete internationally.
In high school, Isaac took ICT as a subject but found that most of the modules were comprised of theory-based tasks or using high-level applications such as Photoshop and MS Excel. Isaac says, “While these applications are great, they don’t allow for deeper understanding. For the theory-based tasks, I would have read someone else’s description of a technology or concept and just repeated it in a test because I was never given a chance for technical implementation, which limited my knowledge and understanding.”
Over the summer holidays following the completion of his GCSEs Isaac taught himself the programming language Java. “Doing so taught me the value of hands-on practice, the ability to research independently and the difference between reading about a technology and implementing one.”
Isaac heard about WorldSkills UK Competitions from the very first time he visited his college, Nescot. “When I visited for an open-day and interview the tutors showed us what WorldSkills UK Competitions were, the potential opportunities and accomplishments of past students.”
He competed in the WorldSkills UK in the National Qualifiers for Network Infrastructure Technician 2019 and achieved first place, going on to compete in the National Finals held at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC in Birmingham in front of thousands of spectators, later that year. Isaac says, “Competing has given the chance to implement various technologies that I’ve wanted to learn about in the past like Cisco, R&S, Windows Server and Linux and some I have never even heard of before.”
The biggest challenge Isaac has faced with WorldSkills UK Competitions so far is finding time to train. Showing the planning skills essential for being successful in competition and the workplace, Isaac solved this issue by planning a week ahead and scheduling important tasks and milestones for both college and training. Employability skills such as planning, along with communications and team working are highly valued by employers alongside technical skills.
Competing has also given Isaac a chance to stretch and challenge himself beyond his college work. “Taking part in WorldSkills UK Competitions has given me a greater understanding of routing and switching; and the chance to learn to implement those skills using Cisco equipment. I am often asked to do quite similar tasks in class however, at a much lower level.”
Asked what advice he would have for other young people thinking about entering WorldSkills UK Competitions Isaac feels there are great benefits.
“WorldSkills UK Competitions give you the chance to learn technical details about your field, have world-class training and compete on national and international stages.”
As a member of Squad UK Isaac will undergo the skill set and mindset training that WorldSkills UK is so renowned for, and which will help him prepare for the chance to join Team UK on the international stage. Isaac says he is “honoured” to be part of Squad UK and looking forward to develop his skills further. “It would mean a lot to be part of EuroSkills Graz or WorldSkills Shanghai. It would give me the chance to compete at the highest level and meet talented people from other skills and professions.”