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30 January 2023

WorldSkills UK's CEO steps down

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE is stepping down as CEO of WorldSkills UK after more than seven years leading the organization.

Under Neil’s leadership, WorldSkills UK has grown and developed to focus on how international benchmarking from the global WorldSkills network in over 85 countries can be harnessed to drive up standards in skills development across the UK.

Key highlights during his tenure include:

  • Establishing the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence, in partnership with NCFE, and the WorldSkills UK Learning Lab, to help educators achieve excellence in training through international best practice.
  • Producing a series of influential diagnostic reports linking skills development with rapidly changing employer, investor and economic needs.
  • Introducing key future skills into the competitions programme and succeeding in getting UK back into the top 10 skills nations globally in the WorldSkills performance medal table.
  • Becoming a sector leader in championing equity, diversity, and inclusion to help more young people from all backgrounds succeed.
  • Engaging and supporting the development of nearly 1 million young people.

Neil’s departure has been carefully planned with the Board, with a smooth transition in place. Neil is due to step down in May and will remain on the Board of WorldSkills UK to support the organization through a transition period.

Ben Blackledge, who has been at WorldSkills UK for over eight years and is currently Deputy CEO, will take over as interim CEO when Neil steps down.

Read the full press release on the WorldSkills UK website.

A portrait of Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, the CEO of WorldSkills UK who has announced he is stepping down from the role.