The very best of British engineers are heading from Brum to Brazil for the chance of relative superstardom on the global stage at the ‘Skills Olympics’, which has competitors from 80 nations.
The elite 13-strong team will compete before 100,000 spectators and hundreds of members of the media from around the World from 11 – 16 August at the World Skills finals, having survived selection processes that in some cases have taken years.
One finalist, Andrew Beel, aged 21, from Glasgow, who works at Pacson Valves in Dundee, has survived a grueling four-year selection process to get to the very pinnacle of his profession.
“Having dedicated four years of my life to get there – I am determined to do as well as I can,” explained Andrew, who trained at New College, Lanarkshire and who hopes to come back with a gold medal for Mechanical Engineering CAD.
“I am going for a gold – and I have a realistic chance. The training goes on until I get on the plane in August – and I need to raise my game a little by then.”
Andrew has already scooped Gold and was named Best in Nation at EuroSkills 2014 in Lille to add to the Gold medal he won in the Birmingham games earlier.
Ann Watson, CEO of Semta, the not for profit organisation, which drives the competition in the UK, said: “Forget the World Cup or the Olympics, this is THE most important competition to be held in Brazil. Britain should look and learn – the status of young engineering apprentices is far higher in other countries than it is here.”
“If the Government is to achieve the challenging target of 3 million new apprentices during this Parliament we will have to achieve a cultural shift in the country’s attitude to vocational training.
“Young engineers are lauded by other countries – given superstar status, feted by the media – and applauded by the public.
“The standing that engineering holds is often mirrored by the performance of a nation’s manufacturing base and economy – these young people need to be granted iconic status.
“Semta wants other young people to want to emulate TeamUK – and get energised by engineering.”
For many around the world, winning gold at WorldSkills could change their lives, with emerging nations incentivise their competitors by rewarding Gold Medalists with life-long pensions, cash prizes and even houses.
No such prizes for the UK team, but they can enter knowing we’ll be sat here in Blighty cheering them on!
Engineering Team UK in full:
Aeronautical Engineering – Shayne Hadland, aged 24 from RAF Benson
CNC Milling – Michael Watson, aged 21, from Bristol working at GKN Aerospace
CNC Turning – Alex Elton, aged 19, from Nuneaton working at Clamonta Ltd.
Construction MetalWork – Christopher Hanson, aged 21, City Training Bradford
Industrial Electronics – Balint Bogdan, aged 21 from Belfast Metropolitan College,
Manufacturing Team Challenge – Patrick Devanney, Dominic Trees & Christopher Renwick, from Carnaud working for MetalBox
Mechanical Engineering: CAD – Andrew Beel, aged 21 from,Pascon Vales
Mechatronics – Andy Smith & Robyn Clarke, both 22, from Chester working at Toyota Manufacturing UK
Sheet MetalWork Technology – Harley Brian, aged 20 KMF, Newcastle Under Lyme
Welding – Reece Taylor, aged 22, from County Durham working at Dyer Engineering