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With 86 Welsh youngsters qualifying for the final, as a region Wales tops the leader board for the highest number of competitors.

First published:
16 November 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

A record number of Welsh competitors will travel to the NEC in Birmingham this week (17-19 November) to compete against the UK’s most talented apprentices, employees and learners at The WorldSkills UK final.

WorldSkills UK Competitions inspire young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level. The UK finals are the highlight of The Skills Show, with more than 650 people battling it out in over 40 competitions in skills ranging from plumbing and cookery to web design and floristry.

Peter Rushforth, from Leeswood in Mold, is one of the 86 Welsh youngsters competing at this week’s show and is proudly representing his country in the butchery category.

The 21-year-old said: 

“This is actually the second time I’ve been to The Skills Show. Last year I competed and got a bronze medal so I’m looking to improve on that this year.

“I’m pretty confident as I’ve been practising so much. I work full time at Swans Farm Shop, and try to go in an hour earlier or on my days off to test my skills and trial my creations on the customers. 

“Everyone competing is at the top of the game so I do feel the pressure, but I’m looking forward to showing my hard work and for them to see how far I’ve come since last year.”

The winning individuals may then have the opportunity to compete for a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills Kazan in Russia 2019. WorldSkills is supported by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, to promote the importance of a highly-skilled workforce, aiming to boost high level skills in Wales.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the Show on Friday 18 November, the Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, said: 

“I am so proud that Wales has had so many competitors qualify for this year’s WorldSkills UK final and it is testament to the talented individuals and the support they received from their families, colleges, schools and training providers.

“To be selected to represent Wales at the Skills Show is an achievement in itself and any medals we win this week will be a bonus. I wish all 86 competitors the best of luck and hope their journeys will inspire others to work hard to become highly skilled employees in the future.”