British engineers, plumbers and builders have been hailed as heroes and heroines having battled to a fantastic finish at the ‘Skills Olympics’ – WorldSkills 2013 in Leipzig, Germany.
As our sports stars shone in Australia, Germany and Wimbledon – our skilled youngsters excelled at arguably the most important event of all.
The team, supported at the event by skills organisation EAL, came through the ‘Leipzig litmus test’ with flying colours snapping up two gold medals, one silver, three bronze and 17 Medallions of Excellence.
More than 1,000 young apprentices, from 54 nations have completed 4 days of intensive competition in 40 different disciplines.
The results, announced at a spectacular closing ceremony, showed the UK has consolidated its position in the international skills league.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL said: “They are heroes and heroines – each and every one of them.
“The team has dedicated the last two years of their lives ensuring that they were ready to meet this challenge – a commitment that has paid dividends for themselves, the team and their country.
“This result will help to inspire the next generation of skilled professionals – which we need to build a better Britain.”
Bricklayer Ashley Terron, aged 21 from Warrington, was moved to tears as his gold medal was announced.
“I am the World’s best brickie – and that’s amazing.” Said Ashley who studied at Warrington Technical College and Salford University.
“This is going to change my life! I can’t wait to get home to Warrington and show everyone what I have achieved.”
Team UK’s second gold was awarded to cabinetmaker George Callow, aged 21 from Chichester West Sussex who also won the Best of Nation Award.
“It went like a dream for me.” Said George. “You would normally hit a rough patch in any competition – but everything I did seemed to work wonderfully.
“To get gold and be the best in the World is unbelievable.”
Robert Broomsgrove 21 from Highbridge, Somerset, grabbed silver for Stonemasonry, whilst Ben Tullett, aged 22 from Fleet in Hampshire won bronze for Aircraft Maintenance, Matthew Crane,22, from Bristol won bronze for Electrical Installations and Matthew Sthew Quinn, 22 from Dromore, Northern Ireland won bronze for autobody repair.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "British ambition and ingenuity has once again taken on and beaten the best in the world and I extend my congratulations to Team UK. As we compete in the global race, this Government is on the side of ambitious young people who want to work hard and get on and we will continue in our efforts to build the biggest and best apprenticeship programme."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Congratulations to Team UK who brought home six medals and 17 Medallions For Excellence from the WorldSkills in Leipzig. They have demonstrated that when it comes to skills Britain has world-class ability.
"Vocational skills are important to the success of every business. That's why in these difficult times I have prioritised apprenticeship funding, so that employers can access the country's talent to help build a stronger economy."Official Delegate to team UK Jaine Bolton said: “I am so thrilled for them. We got 24 medals in London two years ago and 23 here.
“The fact that our Mechanical Engineering team got a Medallion of Excellence was particularly pleasing – achieving our best ever score.”