Great Skills – World Skills 2015 round-up

With Team UK going for Gold with 41 competitors taking part in WorldSkills 2015, bodyshop magazine rounds-up the event for those closest to home – Ryan Jones (Autobody Repair) and Rebecca Wilson (Car Painting).

The WorldSkills competition is to collision repair what the Olympics is to sport – it is the biggest vocational education and skills excellence competition in the world. Taking place every two years since its inception in 1950, WorldSkills 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 were all aged 18 – 25, won three Gold, four Silver and two Bronze medals, one of which was awarded to Rebecca Wilson of Riverpark Training & Development, for her efforts in the Car Painting category. The UK 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.

Amazing

Northern Ireland based Rebecca who trains at Riverpark Training & Development and is employed at CM Accident Repair Centre said, ‘Being selected for Team UK was an amazing achievement in itself, but to come home with a Bronze medal and be named amongst the top young car painters in the world is such an incredible feeling.

‘The whole of Team UK worked really hard and the experience of the competition is something we will never forget. We have all learnt so much during the process – knowledge and new skills that we can take with us as we progress in our careers.’

During the competition Rebecca was tasked with a number of challenges including repairing panel damage on a door and painting the door wet-on-wet with high build masking to an exacting line; painting a wing in three stage pearl using a standard to match shade and texture; colour matching from a selection of tinters given a stand only but no formulae; masking of the side of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) paying attention to both accuracy, neatness and economy; laying out a geometric design on a panel and paint it, and repairing paint damage on a pre-printed panel blending into a small area but not clearing the whole panel.

Bill Jones, WorldSkills UK cluster lead for automotive competitions said, ‘The standard of competition has once again been raised this year and Rebecca has fulfilled the faith in her that her trainers had. The refinish industry in the UK still continues to produce high class talent capable of winning medals against tough opposition from around the world.’

Experience

Apprentice panel technician at Just Car Clinics Hinckley, Ryan Jones who trains at Leicester College, represented Team UK in Autobody Repair category and despite not finishing in the medal positions, had an ‘out of this world’ experience.

Ryan explained, ‘The World Skills is massive, I try to explain it to my family and friends but they don’t understand the size of it. It is on the scale of the Olympics.’ Ryan’s preparations for WorldSkills started around two years ago and he has been supported every step of the way by employer Just Car Clinics and dad Gavin, who is a fellow panel technician at Hinckley. Ryan said, ‘Just Car Clinics have been really supportive, Barry Whittles, Dawn Swales and Mick Murray have been great, they have bought a vehicle for me to train on, gave me time off for extra training and even sent my dad over to Brazil to support me. There aren’t many employers that would do that.’

Ryan’s dad Gavin said, ‘He’s grown up and matured through all this and I’m as proud as you can ever be to see my child representing the UK in a profession he enjoys. It’s fantastic.’

Congratulations

Since the conclusion of the WorldSkills 2015 competition, many plaudits and congratulations have been poured on Team UK for its achievements. Carole Stott, chair of Find a Future – which manages the UK’s entry into the international WorldSkills competition – said, ‘WorldSkills São Paulo gave Team UK the opportunity to showcase the UK’s vocational and further education system on a global stage. The hard work they have all put in over the last two years to prepare for the competition, alongside their committed training managers has really paid off and we are thrilled with the results they have achieved. We urge the nation to join us celebrating the success of Team UK and give them a champions’ welcome on their return.’

In a letter to each individual competitor, Prime Minister David Cameron was full of praise for the team’s 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.’

Selection for the next Team UK, to compete at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi in 2017, will start at The Skills Show 2015, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 19-21 November 2015.