EAL learners are Skills Show champions

Workmates Matthew Howard and Martin Bradburn proved to be among Britain’s brightest engineers after beating tough competition to be crowned champions at WorldSkills UK.


Matthew, 18 from Wolverhampton and Martin, 20, from Telford both apprentices at UTC Aerospace Systems Marston UK, won the Sheet MetalWork Advanced and Sheet MetalWork Higher Gold medals respectively after three intensive days at the Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham before around 80.000 spectators.

More than 100 engineers, selected at a series of regional heats, battled it out in the elite competition managed by employer-led Enginuity , which engineers skills for the future.

The duo who are studying EAL Level 3 in Fabrication and Welding Engineering Technology at the City of Wolverhampton College, were delighted to win.

“The competition was so tough with just a few marks between first and bronze,” said Matthew. “It is still sinking in that I won but to know you have come out on top is a great feeling.”

Martin said: “It is something great to put on you CV. It shows you have got a lot of skills and you are willing to put the effort in to try and complete something, especially under pressure.”

Julia Chippendale, managing director of EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications said: “Matthew and Martin have put their learning into practice and come away with Gold medals. As an organisation whose motto is Closer to Industry, we very much support competitions like WorldSkills. They play a vital role in raising skills standards among young people and provide an opportunity for competitors to challenge themselves against the best in the country.

“A highly skilled workforce with relevant qualifications to prove employees have reached the standard required is vital to the future of the UK economy. Matthew and Martin’s success will prove an inspiration to the thousands of young people.”

Among the visitors to the Skills Show was Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP, who called upon parents to put aside any prejudice that they might have against vocational pathways to work.

The engineering competitions, managed by Enginuity are part of the WorldSkills UK Portfolio, run by Find a Future in partnership with organisations from industry and education.

WorldSkills UK Competitions reward real talent and drive up levels of expertise in further education, skills and Apprenticeships. The competitions enable organisations to expand the skills base of their employees and share best practice within industry.

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