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From classroom to shed, spare room, bedroom or any spare space

Stephen Williams, WorldSkills UK Electronics Training Manager and Gower College Swansea Curriculum Leader Lecturer explains how he has redesigned his Squad team's training during the lockdown and the inspiring results.

Thursday, 30 Apr 2020

In my role as WorldSkills UK Training Manager for Electronics, I am charged with helping develop the UK Squad's skills set to allow them to compete with the best in the world in the Electronics skill. The skill has a wide range of activities including:

  • Hardware Design (designing electronic concepts)
  • Fault finding
  • Printed circuit board design
  • Embedded coded systems

And several other sub skills that all allow the above to be achieved.

I have been involved in education for 35 years and this is certainly the most interesting, even challenging, period that I have experienced. However, as with all challenges come outstanding opportunities. These opportunities bring out the entrepreneur in us as educators. As soon as I realised that the country was going into lockdown the realisation to redesign training, especially for my EuroSkills and WorldSkills international Squad hit home.

After several phone calls with the amazing team at WorldSkills UK we all mobilised into action. The Squad were set a challenge to set up a design house literally in their house and boy did they engage. The creativity was a breath of fresh air. The three squad members Ben, Liam and Rhys set up workstations to be proud of. WorldSkills UK shipped out the equipment needed and I set to redesigning the tasks for remote working.

Courtesy of Office 365 we recently ran the first training event in their journey to Graz and Shanghai.

We must never forget how talented and resilient these competitors are, after all they are the best of the best in their chosen discipline.

The projects created were truly inspirational. From building their own oscilloscope that they can use in their future training, to a wrist watch construction that was executed with superb skill levels.

What I have also learned from the first full online training event, is that the medium allows the Squad members and myself to take a forensic look at the WorldSkills International standards of excellence. During the training we unpicked all of the projects with some reverse engineering and compared to the recommended standards for Electronics.

This forensic look has added so much value to their reflective skills journey. We have got to a place where the competitors and myself are seeing opportunities for improvement at a much earlier time than in previous cycles.

The future is incredibly exciting for Electronics and the talented Squad.

The Squad are aiming high for Shanghai. Bring on 2021.

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