WorldSkills UK Foundation Skills competitions are designed to help SEND learners grow and develop through skills competitions. Initially, New College Durham was involved with organising the IT Foundation Skills Competitions across the UK, before taking on the more challenging role of running the IT, restaurant services and hairdressing Foundation Skills Competitions.

“WorldSkills UK Competitions help SEND students develop independence and confidence,” explains Colin. “The Competitions are a different way of teaching key skills and helping learners build resilience. It’s great to see Competitors meeting other learners like them and feeling like they’re part of a bigger picture.”

Building a like-minded network

As leaders in Foundation Skills Competitions, New College Durham is able to share information and tools with colleges across the UK to help others take part. This includes running inter-college Competitions so that SEND learners can meet others and put their new skills to the test.

Using the WorldSkills UK method and structure, Colin has created in-classroom competitions that reflect the curriculum and needs of his learners – from ironing to independent living. In addition, he supports colleges whose students are taking part in the IT, Restaurant Services and Hairdressing Competitions at a national level.

“I work as WorldSkills UK Ambassador for the North East, and this is a good opportunity to network and share knowledge,” says Colin. “There is a growing network of SEND tutors in the region and across the UK as a whole, which helps us show others the benefit of Skills Competitions for SEND learners.”

Wide ranging benefits

As well as using this network to increase the amount of regional WorldSkills UK Foundation Skills Competitions, Colin also creates materials that others can use to set up competitions in their own colleges.

“We are involved in creating workbooks and training tools to help training providers looking to use Foundation Skills Competitions to support learners,” he says. “We map competitions to different areas of the curriculum and use this as part of learners’ study programmes. As each student is different, there are plenty of tips and techniques that teachers can adapt to their needs. We encourage teachers to share their experiences and resources too, so we can grow these tools and help even more young learners to succeed.”


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