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9 February 2009

30 more skilled young people selected for UK skills

By UK Skills 

Automobile Technology - Dean Jones
Fashion Technology - Sophie Willet
Welding - Andy Johnston

The final 30 members of Squad UK were announced Tuesday, February 3rd, with the hopes that they will be ready to take on the very best in the world at the biggest skills competition ever - WorldSkills Calgary 2009 - which will take place in Calgary, Canada in September.

The new squad members were announced at a special event at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, which celebrated the success of the squad so far and went on to highlight the importance of skills in the UK. A panel discussion was held on the topic “The role of skills and skills competitions in the current economic climate. The debate was lead by UK Skills Chief Executive Simon Bartley and included high calibre speakers.

Simon Bartley, Chief Executive of UK Skills, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our new members of Squad UK. Each person on the squad has already shown that they have tremendous talent in their field but all of them now face months of hard training to make sure they are world class in order to be able to compete at WorldSkills in Canada in September. We are all very proud of these young people who are determined to make a difference in their careers and who are highlighting to the rest of the UK just how much young talent we actually have. In this current economic crisis it is more important than ever to make sure that this country has skilled people in the workforce. We need to be investing in this talent and preparing ourselves for the new challenges and competition that inevitably lies ahead. It is competitions such as WorldSkills which we hope will make people realise just what the UK has to offer. We send our congratulations to them all for being selected for Squad UK and wish them luck in their training.”

The new Squad UK members have earned the right to be proud of themselves having won their places after a tough three day selection competition which took place at colleges including City College Coventry, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, South Birmingham College, Warwickshire College and Stratford-upon-Avon College.

Skills Minister Lord Young said: “At a time when the country is facing tough economic challenges it is heartening to see just how much talent we have in the UK, and how dedicated these young people are to making sure they are world class in their profession. I hope they will inspire others to recognise just how skilled and rewarding vocational careers can be.”

Squad UK will now be increasing their training to ensure their place on Team UK who will compete at WorldSkills Calgary 2009. The final Team UK members will be announced in June. The independent education foundation Edge is the official supporter of both Squad UK and Team UK. The UK’s WorldSkills team is managed by UK Skills working in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and key partners from education, government and industry. Brathay provide and support the training and development of Squad and Team UK

For more information, please contact: Kathryn Crookenden – UK Skills, +44 207 612 9261,