Local students inspired by WorldSkills excellence

Students at Trafford College took inspiration from some of the world’s most talented young learners and apprentices this week, as competitors from around the globe descended on Trafford College for the selection of Team UK for WorldSkills AbuDhabi 2017. The talented finalists demonstrated their prowess in trades such as Restaurant Service, Floristry, 3D Digital Game Art and Jewellery.

L-R Ben Blackledge, Director of Education and Skills Competitions with WorldSkills UK, competitors Steven Lodge, Dan McCabe, Kaiya Swain and Bridie Thorne, and Trafford College Principal Lesley Davies

The College, along with four other training providers in Greater Manchester, was selected by WorldSkills UK to host competitions for the prestigious event, and the selection process for Team UK got underway at the College’s Altrincham campus on Wednesday 28 March.

With competitions taking place in 12 different skills sectors and involving 43 competitors from 9 different countries, the atmosphere around the campus was electric. The sheer focus and determination of the competitors whilst under the scrutiny of the judges was remarkable, as well as being under the spotlight of the College’s current students and visitors, all fascinated by the levels of excellence on display.

Taking in the atmosphere and watching their peers perform under pressure, the College’s students saw their morale boosted and aspirations raised, and for a lucky few there was even the chance to contribute their very own skills set to the competition process.

Students from the College’s hospitality section were delighted to be given the opportunity to prepare the food that was being served by the competitors in the Restaurant Service competitions, as well as preparing a feast of international delicacies and beverages for the College’s welcome event. Joining the College’s Principal, Lesley Davies for the celebratory event were a host of dignitaries from around the UK including Ben Blackledge, Director of Education and Skills Competitions with WorldSkills UK, along with former WorldSkills champions, local employers and the talented competitors.

One student given the opportunity to assist with the competitions was hospitality student Dean Olsten (18). Dean was responsible for cooking a selection of fine dining dishes which the Restaurant Service competitors would then serve to diners in the College’s Aspire Restaurant, as well preparing his very own entry for the local GMCG competitions, which were also underway at the College. He commented,

“I was really excited to be given the opportunity to be part of the WorldSkills competitions and felt very inspired on my own journey. Watching the competitions has really motivated me to take part in more events myself when they arise, as I really believe they can help develop your skills. As part of the GMCG competitions this week I had to create and design my own menu, and taking inspiration from the WorldSkills competitors made me want to do my very best.”

After a gruelling four days of competing in various tasks, the fate of the competitors lies in the hands of the expert judges who are now responsible for selecting just one competitor in each discipline to win the ultimate accolade of flying to Abu Dhabi, where they will represent Team UK, and compete against the world’s elite for the chance to be crowned WorldSkills champion in their field.

Principal Lesley Davies, who was recently named as the new AoC WorldSkills UK Lead for the North West, commented, “I am delighted that Greater Manchester, and Trafford College in particular was selected to host this prestigious event.  It is a real privilege for all our staff and students to be involved, and genuinely motivates our young learners as well as raising their aspirations and confidence levels. These competitors become role models for them. The competitions also reinforce our commitment to providing every young person with the opportunities to unleash their full potential by developing their specialist skills, and improving wider employability skills.”

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Trafford College is a leading provider of education and training in Greater Manchester. With a £50m investment in world-class facilities, an innovative approach to learning and exceptional links with some of the borough’s most significant employers, students are given a platform from which they can achieve their full potential.