Two KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) rising stars have successfully gone through the selection process for the WorldSkills Leipzig 2013. With one place on offer, KMF's Matt Page has been selected as the UK's representative, with his colleague, Jake Repsys, also travelling to Leipzig, as first reserve.
Video shows WorldSkills 2013 Team UK team members during their four-day selection tests
The pair's achievement is more impressive, given the fact that this is the first time in over 20 years that the UK has been represented in the sheet metal area at WorldSkills, and that the usual 18- month build up to the skills test was reduced to six months.
"Sheet metal at Worldskills was abandoned many years ago, but it made a reappearance in 2009, but with totally different criteria, where competitors need much more all-round skills, rather than just craft technique," says WorldSkills Mentor Dave Vaughan. "The new contest includes CAD, CNC laser, CNC press brake, as well as the traditional manual skills of developing a fabrication. Not many companies train their apprentices with all of these skills, which are vital to success at WorldSkills level."
The competition between Matt and Jake was extremely close and, quite literally, went to the 11th hour. After they had completed the four days selection test, the pair was separated by half a point and the judging panel had to take extra time to review all of the work they had done, with Matt taking the final decision at 11 pm the evening before the team was announced.
The intense training that Matt and Jake undertook for WorldSkills has taken them out of their comfort zone, moving them to a position of excellence. The pressure during training and competition is quite intense, demanding mental strength, as well as technical skills. To support the competitors, WorldSKills UK provides them with personal mentors to help them deal with this. As well as helping with the psychology of the competition, they also help with their physical preparation.
Says Matt Page: "The training over the past 6 months has been very intense. We have travelled to various venues, including Amada (Machine Manufacturers) and Lincoln Electric (Welding Plant Suppliers). We have also travelled to Dublin, Nottingham, Birmingham and Coventry to receive training and get familiar with Skills Shows in preparation for Leipzig. The training that we have received at KMF has been very beneficial, as we have a workshop dedicated to training, with all of the facilities that we need on our doorstep. KMF has also given us all the time we needed in order for us to train and practice. The help and support we have had from Dave Vaughan was also a massive help in getting us prepared for the test pieces that we had to manufacture."
KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) has made a considerable investment in training and developing its apprentices, including a training centre and workshop. In addition, it works closely with local primary and secondary schools to develop an interest in manufacturing throughout the curriculum, with its Young Engineer Awards one highlight of this.
Says Gareth Higgins, managing director, KMF (Precision Sheet Metal): "We are extremely proud of the hard work that Matt and Jake have put in to this achievement at WorldSkills and we look forward to Matt having a successful event in Leipzig on the 2-7 July.
"To have two of our apprentices get this level of recognition is testament to the hard work that they and our training staff have put in over the years, and confirms that the investment that we are continuing to make in apprentice training is fully justified, and we will continue to support Matt and Jake as they continue their preparations. We are already planning our entries for WorldSkills 2015 in Brazil."
Image: Matt Page (right) along with fellow KMF apprentice Jake Repsys <
Author: Andrew Allcock