Lewis from New College Lanarkshire has been selected to represent the UK on the international stage in Chemical Laboratory Technician. Read his story.
Lewis always had a passion for STEM subjects at school, which led to him doing a HNC (Higher National Certificate) in Applied Science at New College Lanarkshire, before going on to study for a Chemistry degree at the University of the West of Scotland.
“The sciences and maths have always been the subjects that I’ve always had a forte for and always felt most comfortable with, it was a natural route to take.”
It was while he was studying at college that his head of department introduced him to WorldSkills UK Competitions and Lewis decided to enter the Laboratory Technician competition. He made it through the National Qualifiers in Manchester and on to the National Finals held at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC Birmingham in November 2019, where he was awarded the coveted Gold Medal.
“That was surreal, I’ve never done nothing of that scale before. I don’t think I can ever describe that feeling, it was amazing.”
After impressing the judges at the National Finals, Lewis was selected for Squad UK to undergo intensive skill set and mindset training that WorldSkills UK is renowned for and to be in the running to join Team UK in competing on the international stage.
Lewis says his favourite part of being part of Squad UK is “the training that we’ve had throughout lockdown. It’s a bit of normality, you’re still getting contact with the team, still getting a chance to learn new skills. With the mindset training, a lot of concepts are introduced that you would never even think of.”
When Lewis found out he was selected for Team UK to compete at EuroSkills Graz in January 2021 he was: “Delighted. Being told we want you to go and represent the UK and knowing that you’ve reached the point where there’s no more hurdles to jump, you’ve made it to the team, that was brilliant.”
Lewis is now looking forward to competing against his peers across Europe and developing his skills even further: “I don’t think there’s any aspect of it that I’m not looking forward to. The training that we will receive will be a lot more in depth, a lot more technical, a lot of the tasks that we do as part of the training it’s a step above what we do at even university. The training pushes you a lot further and gives you the skill of independent thinking.”
Lewis is currently considering his career options including “Maybe lecturing of some description or teaching” but is confident that whatever he chooses, taking part in WorldSkills UK Competitions has given him the skills to succeed:
“My hands-on practical skills have got a lot stronger in competition. You can spend days reading books, but nothing beats the training that I’ve had competing in WorldSkills UK Competitions. It’s a skill set that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my career.”
If he could say one thing to another young person thinking of entering a WorldSkills UK Competition it would be: “Go for it, it’s an experience of a lifetime.”
EuroSkills Graz is currently postponed due to COVID-19.