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Team UK
Manufacturing Team Challenge
Manufacturing Team Challenge
Vehicle Systems Integrator

Rachael, a former WorldSkills UK Competitor, embarked on her journey in 2011 when she competed at WorldSkills London. Her team secured victory in the national competition, earning them the opportunity to compete in the Manufacturing Team Challenge. This challenge involved the design and manufacture of equipment assemblies, showcasing Rachael’s skills and expertise.

Rachael’s introduction to WorldSkills UK came through her employer, BAE Systems, where she had enrolled in an apprenticeship programme. Rachael completed three Pearson BTECs in different engineering subjects and earned a degree from the University of Lancaster, while continuing in her role at BAE Systems. Fast forward eighteen years, and Rachael has risen through the ranks to become the assistant chief engineer at BAE Systems.

Rachael elaborated on how her involvement with WorldSkills UK provided her with early exposure and appreciation for diverse cultures, people, and working methods.

Rachael said, “When you participate in training sessions with WorldSkills UK, you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals focused on competition.”

“The exposure to various industries and networking opportunities is truly phenomenal, but you don’t fully comprehend its significance until you’ve experienced it firsthand. The learning and insights gained from these experiences are invaluable and shape your entire career trajectory.”

She continued, “Being part of WorldSkills UK taught me essential skills in working with different personalities, individuals from diverse backgrounds, and various cultures. It instilled in me the ability to collaborate effectively within a team and to navigate gracefully through different professional environments.”

Rachael continues to play a pivotal role within the WorldSkills UK family, now serving as a performance coach, for Team UK.

“I remain deeply passionate about WorldSkills UK and ensuring that industries actively engage to provide opportunities for young people, just as I had,” Rachael emphasised. “From BAE Systems’ perspective, the invaluable learning gained by employees through WorldSkills UK is unparalleled. It’s not something you can merely acquire from industry experience alone. The exposure, world-class training, and wealth of knowledge from training managers provide competitors with an intriguing experience.”

She added, “Even those who progress to the squad stage emerge more mature from this challenging yet rewarding journey. It’s not easy—it requires dedication, passion, and enthusiasm. You must be willing to commit yourself fully to become the best in the world.”

Rachael has already accomplished her initial goals, so what’s on the horizon for her?

Rachael shared, “While my natural career progression would lead me to the role of Chief Engineer, I’m equally passionate about advocating for the next generation of engineers. Just as I received invaluable support, I believe our junior engineers deserve the same. It’s crucial to ensure that the engineering industry is accessible to everyone and embraces diversity. We need to make engineering careers sound appealing and relatable to attract a broader range of talent.” She added, “And let’s not forget, we don’t all wear boiler suits or hard hats.”

We revisited the advice Rachael would give her younger self. Has anything changed since you last spoke to WorldSkills UK? Rachael said, “Confidence is still key, but equally important is believing in your own abilities.”

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