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Talented young people across Wales recognised at skills event

Skills Competition Wales at Coleg y Cymoedd. Picture by Nick Treharne.

Competitors from across Wales were awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals at an event celebrating the successes of Skills Competition Wales, a national programme recognising vocational talent in a variety of sectors.  The competitors have been named the best in Wales at their chosen skill.

Backed by the Welsh Government through the European Social Fund, Skills Competition Wales is a series of events held across the country, designed to celebrate vocational skills and create highly skilled, talented employees for the Welsh workforce. Due to the coronavirus pandemic this year’s competitions took a blended approach to delivery, with some competitions held online and others at the competitors’ place of study or workplace.

More than 550 people competed in 53 competitions across Wales, taking home 68 gold, 70 silver and 64 bronze medals across the different categories.

Adele Hughes, 20, from Wrexham won a gold award in aeronautical engineering. She said: “I was really shocked when I found out I won the competition, it’s not sunk in yet but I’m so pleased.

Adele Hughes

“At the moment I’m doing an apprenticeship with Raytheon UK, and I was able to apply what I’ve learnt there in the competition, including how to cut metal and use rivets to join pieces together.

“There was also an online theory part to my competition, which I’m used to as part of my studies within my apprenticeship. Although I didn’t know what was going to be in the test, I was able to work through it all and complete it successfully.

“I’m already signed up to the next set of competitions and can’t wait to progress further as well as complete my apprenticeship at Raytheon UK.”

Zoe Price

Zoe Price, 18, from Pembrokeshire, also won a gold award in the graphic design category.

Zoe said: “I’ve never been in a competition setting before, I was really excited and quite apprehensive at the idea but after a few minutes, I got into the process and I really enjoyed it.

“As part of my competition, I had to design a logo for a fictional company called ‘Space M’. I had to show how I would use the logo in advertising as well as design it, which was very interesting to do. I had a creative idea to advertise the company across three poster designs that all lined up together, with the logo featured across my design.

“I was over the moon when I found out I had won gold and felt so good that I had won something I’m passionate about enjoy doing. It’s made me really proud of my work and my ability to design.

“I want to focus on developing my professional career within the creative industry and I’ve already signed up to a new graphic communication course which I am really excited to start.”

The virtual awards ceremonies took place on 13 May and 27 May and celebrated the talents of competitors in the IT and enterprise, media and creative, health, hospitality and lifestyle, construction and infrastructure and engineering and technology sectors.

The award ceremonies follow a series of regional competitions that took place between February and April which challenged students in a variety of categories and skillsets.

Paul Evans, Project Director for Inspiring Skills Excellence and Skills Ambassador for Wales said: “Skills Competition Wales offers a great opportunity for people of all ages to expand and demonstrate their skills and abilities. Winning a medal is a fantastic way to get their careers off to a flying start.

“Creating opportunities for people in Wales to showcase their talent is important as it helps ensure we are providing employers with a highly skilled generation of workers. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that the Wales has talented employees to boost our recovery.

“I’d like to congratulate all those who took part in the competitions this year and look forward to following their stories as they progress onto a bright future.”

Those who participated in these local competitions have the opportunity to engage with WorldSkills competitions at a UK level and if successful progress towards international competitions including EuroSkills and WorldSkills.