Taking place every two years since its inception in 1950, WorldSkills is the world's largest skills competition, which is held around the globe to celebrate skills and share best practice between industries and countries. Staged from 11-16 August 2015, WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 gave the world's most talented young people the chance to battle it out to be named the best of the best in skills ranging from web design and aircraft maintenance to hairdressing and visual merchandising.
After four days of intense competition, Team UK, whose members are all aged 18 – 25, won three Gold, four Silver and two Bronze medals. The team was also awarded 24 Medallions for Excellence, which are given to competitors who demonstrate the attainment of world-class standards in their chosen skill.
For manufacturing-related trades, those winning Medallions of Excellence include: Robyn Clarke and Andy Smith for mechatronics, Andrew Beel for mechanical engineering – CAD, Alex Elton for CNC turning, Elijah Sumner for automotive technology, Mike Watson for CNC milling and Patrick Devanney, Chris Renwick and Dominic Trees for manufacturing team challenge.
In CNC turning, gold went to Thailand, silver to Brazil and bronze to Chinese Taipei. The CNC milling results have not been released due to failure of a CMM. In industrial mechanics millwright, gold went to Norway, silver to Australia and brone to Brazil. In manufacturing team challenge, gold went to Japan and China and Bronze to Brazil. In mechanical enginering – CAD, gold went to Brazil and silver to Chinese Taipei and China. In mechatronics, gold went to Korea, and silver went to Chinese Taipei, Brazil, Switzerland and China. In sheet metal technology, gold went to Brazil and silver to Chinese Taipei and Korea. In automotive technology, gold went to Korea and Brazil and bronze went to Chinese Taipei.
Forty individuals were selected to compete as Team UK at WorldSkills São Paulo in 37 skills, after an intensive training programme working with individually dedicated training managers, which lasted up to two years. All were chosen based on a high personal skill level, competitive attitude and maturity.
In a letter to each individual competitor, Prime Minister David Cameron was full of praise for their efforts: "Team UK demonstrates how the best of our apprentices and vocational learners can compete at the highest international level. The skills they were competing in are vital for the long-term success of our economy. It is also important to remember that they are role models for the next generation of apprentices and vocational learners, who will be inspired by the team's achievements in Brazil."
In a first for the UK, beauty therapy apprentice Rhianne Chester received the Albert Vidal Award, after scoring the most points of any competitor in any discipline.