Good luck to competitors
There has been much talk recently about skills shortages and the work that needs to be done to combat this for the future. This is something that the Association of Colleges (AoC) is working with policymakers to tackle. Next week, however, provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of students who are already committed to developing their skills and being the best in the world, through the WorldSkills competitions. 11 to 16 August 2015 see the bi-annual international finals of WorldSkills, the competition for skills excellence and development. The finals are taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the competitions featured range from bricklaying to floristry to web design. They bring the best 18 to 25-year-olds in the world together to compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, and demonstrate excellence in their chosen field. Representing your country on the world stage is no easy feat. It takes dedicated hard work, perseverance and determination to reach the high level of skills required to compete at this level. This is why the 41 competitors who are representing Team UK in this year’s competition deserve to be celebrated. As Chair of Find a Future and AoC Board, I am looking forward to not only supporting the competitors, but also highlighting the skills and opportunity this country has to offer. The WorldSkills competition offers the chance for us to promote the excellent prospects for international students and businesses available within our colleges. And participation in WorldSkills competitions also provides the opportunity to learn more about how we can continue to achieve excellence in skills. The UK is currently 10th in the WorldSkills rankings after winning two Golds (Bricklaying and Cabinet Making), one Silver (Stonemasonry), three Bronzes (Aircraft Maintenance, Autobody Repair and Electrical Installation) and 17 Medallions for Excellence at the last WorldSkills Competition in Leipzig, Germany which took place in 2013. Competitions get tougher each year and I for one will be cheering on all of Team UK as they face tough competition. I’m sure they will have a wonderful experience in Brazil. Skills competitions showcase the levels of performance that can be achieved by individuals and organisations through high quality further education, skills training and apprenticeships in the UK. I offer my congratulations and good luck to every young person that has earned a place in Team UK. Carole Stott MBE is Chair of AoC's Board and Find a Future.