WorldSkills UK LIVE: Accelerating young people’s careers

Preparation for the last leg of the SkillFRIDGE competition has begun as the six qualifying apprentices from the national heats hone their skills and sharpen their knowledge in readiness to compete in the SkillFRIDGE final, taking place at WorldSkills UK LIVE.

After a period of intensive training with RACHP experts to ensure the competitors can compete according to industry’s stringent standards, against which they will be benchmarked, the WorldSkills UK LIVE event will host the SkillFRIDGE finalists and provide them with an arena to showcase their abilities to a wider audience.

Held at Birmingham’s NEC from 15-17 November, WorldSkills UK LIVE is the UK’s largest apprenticeships and careers event of which the RACHP sector, with its associated SkillFRIDGE competition, is just one part.

From young professionals pursuing careers in engineering, technology and construction, to those with an interest in the health, lifestyle or creative sectors, all receive the opportunity to demonstrate their talents at the WorldSkills UK LIVE competitions, which are run by WorldSkills UK.

Funded by the Department for Education, WorldSkills UK operates as a partnership between businesses, education and government, working collectively to help accelerate young people’s careers and bolster the reputation of apprenticeships.

WorldSkills UK chief executive, Dr Neil Bentley, states: “WorldSkills UK is all about improving the prestige of apprenticeships and technical education, to inspire more young people to consider these as career routes and get off to a better start in work and life.”

As such, the WorldSkills UK LIVE event is much more than a platform for multi-industry skills competitions. Drawing more than 73,000 youngsters from schools across the country each year, the interactive event – which also welcomes parents, families and young adults – enables them to come face-to-face with major employers and training providers from a variety of sectors; try their hands at a range of jobs-related activities, from TV production to virtual welding; and obtain one-to-one guidance from expert careers advisors.

For this year’s cohort of SkillFRIDGE competitors, though, their sights will be set firmly on the task at hand as they battle it out in the final.

Vying to come away with the SkillFRIDGE gold medal are Chandler Davison and Kevin Ballantine, who are both training with Bath College and employed with Thermocold Ltd and TKB Air Conditioning, respectively; Sam Gills, who is employed and trained by Star Refrigeration; Refrigeration Lindum’s Thomas Thompson, who is studying at Grimsby Institute; Dominic Dray from Royale Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, training with Eastleigh College; and Dunbia Foods’ Edward Davis, who studies at Cardiff and Vale College.

Over the course of the three-day event, the apprentices will be tasked with the completion of a series of challenging assignments under test conditions, in a comprehensive examination of their overall knowledge, practical skills, and adherence to industry standards.

The gold, silver and bronze medallists will be announced at a ceremony on the final day of WorldSkills UK LIVE.

The intense final is no easy feat, but the benefits of taking part in the competition cycle are invaluable and lasting. WorldSkills UK training manager and lead SkillFRIDGE judge, Mark Forsyth, explains: “They always say in their feedback that it has helped them in the way they approach things and plan for a job, and in the way that they critique themselves.”

Those who score sufficiently highly in the SkillFRIDGE final will also be eligible to compete at a global level in the WorldSkills international competition, forming part of Squad UK and going head-to-head with the very best talent from a host of other countries across the world.

For more information on the SkillFRIDGE competition series, visit www.skillfridge.co.uk

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