Former Pembrokeshire College joinery student Christopher Caine joined the UK’s best young apprentices and students at a rousing Parliamentary reception attended by Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, Anne Milton MP, before heading off to the EuroSkills Finals in Budapest.
Team UK – 22 of the country’s elite apprentices and students working in the engineering, digital, construction and professional industries – are facing the stiffest competition imaginable when they face the best of the best from across the Continent at the EuroSkills Finals taking place in Budapest from the 26-29 September.
Dr. Neil Bentley, CEO of WorldSkills UK, which selects and accelerates Team UK with intensive training, mentoring and elite competitive experiences, told those gathered on the Terrace of the House of Commons that the country is approaching a significant moment.
He said: “Team UK go and do your country proud – this is a momentous moment for our nation!”
“With Brexit now only months away, we need to benchmark our young people’s skills against the best of the rest of the EU. It’s only through putting our young people to the test in a time-pressured environment against the highest of specifications that we’ll know whether we are developing the skills levels we need in the UK to boost productivity, compete economically and attract inward investment to help create jobs into the future. And it’s through investing in our young people that we will grow these skills to the advanced levels we need.”
Members of Team UK have all spent a minimum of two years in intensive training winning regional and national competitions, as well as progressing through intensive team selection processes, and months of accelerated training – to reach international standard.
Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills said: “You are the future, you are representing the country – and doing us proud.
“We are moving to a world where it’s not about where you come from, or whether you went to university – but what skills you can offer to an employer and help them become more productive.
“Visiting the WorldSkills Competition last year was probably the most mind-blowing experience of my life. It’s about endurance and fortitude – when you get there don’t let anything get in your way – you are the best.”