UK’s biggest skills competition to take over Teesside

17 May 2022

A PRESTIGIOUS skills competition is set to be held on Teesside later this year, bringing together the very best young brains from across the UK.

Middlesbrough College has been chosen as one of six host destinations for WorldSkills UK’s National Skills Competition, which will see students and apprentices from across the country go for gold in a host of disciplines including 3D Digital Game Art, Cyber Security, Digital Construction and Mechanical Engineering.

As well as boosting their skills and confidence, competitors who impress under the pressure of a national final could be in with a chance of representing the UK at the ‘Skills Olympics’ in France in 2024.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College Group, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have been chosen by WorldSkills UK as one of only a handful of hosts for this major competition.

“Once again, it demonstrates our commitment to promoting excellence and raising the aspirations of young people in our region and beyond.

“It’s also testament to our own skills provision, especially in sectors such as digital, construction and engineering. We’re training people at the cutting edge of technology and knowledge, and this competition brings together the very best up and coming talent in these sectors.

“We look forward to welcoming competitors from across the UK to our £100m campus in the heart of Middlesbrough – with many competing in our newly launched, state-of-the-art Digital Centre.

“I’d like to wish all finalists the very best of luck as they prepare for the competition.”

Alongside the drama of the competition itself taking place from November 14, Middlesbrough College will host its own events, providing careers advice and giving visitors the opportunity to talk to employers and industry experts from across the region.

Competitors won’t have to wait long to see how they’ve got on as the winners will be revealed in a special live medal ceremony show presented by Middlesbrough-born broadcaster Steph McGovern, from her Channel 4 Packed Lunch Studio on Friday, November 25.

Ben Blackledge, WorldSkills UK deputy CEO, said: “We are really excited to be taking the show on the road with finals hosted by colleges across the UK. We hope witnessing the drama of the finals live will inspire young people to keep developing their technical and employability skills.

“With 62 finals spread over six venues there should be something for everyone, but we will also be providing loads of online content for people who are unable to get to one of the host venues that week. We are looking forward to producing our special broadcast with live action and top tips from industry experts and careers advisors.

“With skills at the heart of government plans to level up and rebuild the economy, we are delighted to be playing our part and giving more young people the opportunity to explore the many opportunities and careers that high-quality skills offer.” Designed by industry experts, WorldSkills UK competitions help young people grow personally and professionally by developing their technical and employability skills, as well as shining a light on the amazing skilled potential in the UK. The finals are the culmination of a seven-month process including regional heats and intensive training.

The competitions-based programme has a real impact on those taking part, with 90% of previous entrants saying competing help their career progression and 86% saying their personal and employability skills had improved.

Competitors will compete in Middlesbrough College’s dazzling new Digital Centre, which was officially opened last month by tech expert and former Microsoft chief envisioning officer Dave Coplin.

Coplin hailed the multi-million-pound investment from the College, calling it “transformative for the region”.

The state-of-the-art facility, which forms part of Middlesbrough College’s successful Government-approved bid to deliver pioneering new technical qualifications, T Levels, is home to industry-leading programming suites, cyber labs, video editing suites, a games design suite and a full TV and film studio.

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