Last weekend saw young UK trainees pick up three gold and six bronze medals at the 2009 WorldSkills Competition in Calgary,Canada.
The result meant that the UK was placed seventh in the WorldSkills league table, ahead of eleventh-placed Germany,and France in twelfth. Korea took first place, followed by Switzerland, second and Ireland third.
UK trainees have shown steady improvement. In the 2007 competition, in Shizouka, Japan, the UK came 11th compared to 12th in Helsinki in 2005.
Gold medal winner and Best of Nation (top scorer for the UK) Mark Nevin, who works for Nevin of Edinburgh said: “This is the most fantastic feeling. To have competed against the best young painters and decorators in the world was an amazing experience in itself, but to win a gold medal and Best in Nation Award in the trade I love is just incredible: I really do feel on top of the world!”
UK entrants also won gold in the cooking and electrical installation categories. There were no silvers, but six bronzes and 13 medals for excellence.
UK Skills, along with various skills and educational bodies, managed the UK team. Chief executive Simon Bartley said: “What Team UK has achieved in Calgary is outstanding, they have all worked so hard to get where they are and that has certainly paid off. It’s a tremendous result not just for the competitors, but for their employers, trainers and colleges. I send my heartfelt congratulations to the whole team and look forward to welcoming them back in the UK.”
About 60 UK youngsters took part in the competition. They were supported by 35 training managers.