Young Britons, being lured to work in Germany, are being urged to stay put in the UK and help make Britain great.

A controversial £120m drive has been launched by the German government to help fill the country’s skills gap using workers from across Europe.

The revelation comes as more than a thousand young apprentices from 53 nations gather in Leipzig today at the start of the global skills finals – WorldSkills 2013.

The big clash in Germany, which holds more importance for the country than any World Cup Final, gets underway this week (July 2nd – 7th) following a spectacular opening ceremony.

Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, is calling for renewed efforts to dovetail education and industry in the UK – to ensure that our youngsters acquire the skills that manufacturers need desperately.

“We can’t afford to lose young apprentices to any other country,” said Ann. “The skills gap in the UK is already acute and getting worse by the month.

“More than 82,000 engineers are due to retire in the next three years – and we are not producing anything like the number of skilled workers to replace them.  With order books beginning to brim too we have a major issue meeting demand.

“It is imperative that we connect education and industry to help see off any intervention from another nation.”

An intrepid team of young apprentices and trainees is battling it out for Britain with a trophy, pride and the economic future of the nation at stake.

More than a thousand finalists representing 53 nations have gathered in Leipzig to prove which nations are producing the most skilled work force.

The UK team is made up of talented young engineers who have been in intensive training for the last two years to ensure that they are in tip top condition.

They met Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street on Friday for some last-minute words of encouragement.

Specialist industry awarding body EAL is supporting Team UK, which includes competitors from Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. For exlcusive video footage from the event visit EAL's YouTube channel.

The engineering competitors are:

  • Ben Tullet, 21, from Fleet, Hampshire.  Ben is a former apprentice who is employed by the Royal Air Force (RAF).
  • Benjamin Shaw, 20, from Nottingham.  Benjamin is an apprentice who is employed by the University of Nottingham and attends Central College Nottingham.
  • Ben Anderson, 21, from Clitheroe, Lancashire.  Ben is an apprentice who is employed by Motorsport Advanced Development and attends Training 2000.
  • Daniel Gebherd, 21, from Bradford.  Daniel is an apprentice who is employed by CarnaudMetalbox Engineering and attends Bradford College.
  • Andrew Maguire, 22, from Bingley, Yorkshire.  Andrew is a former apprentice who is employed by CarnaudMetalbox Engineering and attends Bradford University.
  • George Moffat, 21, from Skipton, Yorkshire.  George is former apprentice who is employed by CarnaudMetalbox Engineering and who attended Bradford College.  
  • Andrew Craig, 21, from Cardross, Scotland.  Andrew is employed by P&D Engineering.
  • David Cargill, 19, from Ballyclare, Northern Ireland.  David is an apprentice who is employed by Schrader Electronics and attends Northern Regional College.
  • James Overend, 22, from Bellaghy, Northern Ireland.  James is an apprentice who is employed by Emerson Climate Technologies and attends Northern Regional College.
  • Matt Page, 21, from Stoke-on-Trent.  Matt is a former apprentice who is employed by KMF Orecision Sheet Metal Ltd.
  • Alastair Wilson, 22, from Tillicoultry, Scotland.  Alastair is a current apprentice who is employed by Doosan Power Systems.

The UK skills gap is immense and growing at an alarming rate – with a further 82,000 skilled engineers due to retire in the next three years.
Billions of pounds worth of business is in danger of ‘walking out of the door’ to emerging countries if Britain fails to fix the problem – hence skilling young school, college and university leavers has arguably never been more important.

World Skills International – which runs the biennial event - was formed in 1946 to import skills to help rebuild post war Spain.

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