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Making your college world-class: WorldSkills UK competitions and quality outcomes

Ben Blackledge, Director of Education and Skills Competitions, WorldSkills UK

Monday, 19 Nov 2018

Colleges are working harder than ever to ensure the UK’s talent pipeline is able to address skills shortages and kick-start young people’s careers. And, with Brexit on the horizon, it’s vital that Further Education providers are delivering the high-quality training needed to upskill young people across the UK and get them ready for the future.

Employers tell us that it’s not just a technically gifted workforce that’s needed – they want resilient, innovative young people who can meet new and ever-changing challenges.

At WorldSkills UK, we work with colleges across the UK to train apprentices and young learners to compete at our prestigious Skills Competitions. With the best competitors going through a world-class training programme that gives them fantastic opportunities to grow, learn and develop their competitive edge.

Having spoken to our partners at FE colleges, we know a large majority value the role these competitions have in increasing quality outcomes within teaching and learning. Competitions help to develop learners’ technical skills and give them a distinct advantage – exposure to competition at all levels can help develop the key skills, connections and confidence to excel in their chosen career.

Classroom-wide improvements

It’s clear that skills competitions do so much more than benefit the competitors alone. The training format and content can transfer into the wider classroom. Embedding competition practice into day-to-day learning drives up standards and inspires students to strive for gold at all stages of their learning.

Our college partners have told us that by encouraging learners to take part in these competitions, institutions can develop a higher quality learning programme for all students. They can draw on skills competition training requirements and high standards to enrich their syllabus and develop a curriculum based on real-life work scenarios. Adding a competitive edge urges students to strive for the best, as well as helping to develop employability skills and raise aspirations for future careers. It’s also a fantastic way to demonstrate to Ofsted they are meeting the common inspection standards by using competition activity to deliver high quality training and assessments.

At the AoC Conference this November, we’ll be holding a discussion on why engaging in skills competitions gives colleges a real advantage. I’ll be joined by Nigel Leigh, Principal of Stephenson College, and Christian Notley, Head of Furniture Studies Chichester College, Training Manager in Cabinet Making – and former WorldSkills UK competitor. We’ll also be discussing practical tips on how colleges can embed competition practice into day-to-day teaching.

If you’re attending the event, please do join us on Tuesday 20 November at 11:30 – 12:40 to discuss how colleges and students can really make the most of our skills competitions. For more information about how colleges can get involved in our skills competitions and future events, click here.

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