This month, tens of thousands of people will be gathering at the Skills Show in Birmingham, to celebrate the best young talent in the UK. The event is the UK’s biggest collection of skills competitions, and will host the finals of more than 70 national vocational challenges, including crowning the champions of the SkillELECTRIC, SkillFRIDGE, SkillPIPE and SkillPLUMB competitions run by SummitSkills. For hundreds of young people the Skills Show is the culmination of hours of dedicated learning and commitment to honing their practical skills.
Our own four competitions provide electricians, heating and ventilating engineers, refrigeration and air conditioning craft workers and plumbers with a chance to compare their skills and gain recognition for the quality of their work. All have benefitted from the support of their employers and training providers to get there, but at the end of the day it was their own dedication, determination and professionalism that enabled them to reach this stage. Regional heats across the UK earlier this year narrowed down the field, so visitors attending the skills show will see the best of the best.
It is not only their technical and craft skills that will be tested: it’s a high-pressure environment, and the competitors are set a difficult challenge to complete in a limited amount of time. To win, competitors also need to plan effectively, manage their time and deal with their own nerves. Their work will be judged by experts in their field, working to demanding standards to assess all elements of the task. And they will be doing this in front of thousands of visitors to the Skills Show event – school children, other young people, parents and members of the public - who will be watching what they do and chatting between themselves. Every year, participants tell us that they felt under more pressure than they had anticipated. But they also tell us how proud they feel of themselves and their fellow competitors.
As the sector skills council concerned with the standards of skills, qualifications and apprenticeships in the building services engineering sector, we at SummitSkills are very proud of the competitions we run and of our sector’s involvement in the Skills Show. The event confirms our sector’s ongoing commitment to high standards of work, shows the inspiring pipeline of skilled workers and stands as a testament to the professional development that will drive our sector forward. The event inspires the workforce of the future, demonstrating to young people, parents and teachers the world of vocational opportunities open to them. Join us at the Skills Show at the NEC, Birmingham from 14 to 16 November – visit www.theskillshow.com for more information.
Lindsay Gillespie, Executive Director SummitSkills
SummitSkills is the sector skills council for building services engineering