Engineering skills event draws thousands to Birmingham

More than 80,000 people are expected to visit The Skills Show – a three-day career showcase taking place at Birmingham’s NEC that is hosting the finals of the Worldskills UK competition.

Engineering and technology businesses including JLR, BAE Systems, Airbus Operations, Qinetiq, Toyota, BBC, and Dyson are amongst some of the UK’s biggest employers exhibiting at the event, now in its fifth year, which runs from 17-19 November.

With five sector zones focusing on engineering and technology, construction and infrastructure, IT and enterprise, media and creative and hospitality and lifestyle, visitors will have access to hundreds of hands-on opportunities, interactive exhibits, one-to-one independent careers advice and talks by young people about their real-life working experiences.

“The Skills Show provides us with the opportunity to showcase the very best the UK has to offer, as well as giving young people the chance to try things out first hand,” highlights Ben Blackledge, WorldSkills UK director of education and skills competition.

One of the event’s highlights will be the WorldSkills UK competition final, where visitors will have the opportunity to watch more than 500 young people take part in competitions covering more than 60 varied skill disciplines.

Many of the national finalists are apprentices who have battled through local and regional heats to compete to be named the nation’s best. 

Each faces a series of tests, designed by industry experts, which focus on the highest UK and international standards. They are designed to assess competitors’ knowledge, practical skills and attributes valued by employers, including successful completion of the task set, problem-solving, time management and ability to work under pressure.

The engineering disciplines covered in the competition include aeronautical engineering, automotive technology, mechatronics, robotics, mechanical engineering and industrial control. Heats, from regional through to national level, have been organised by Semta.

Winners taking home gold medals on Saturday night may even get to represent Team UK at WorldSkills International in Kazan, Russia in 2019.

“These competitors are the very cream of the crop having excelled in regional competitions and won through to the national finals,” said Semta CEO Ann Watson. “Now some will go on to represent their country in the WorldSkills International Finals. We need many more to follow in their footsteps.

"Semta helps showcase the power of engineering and manufacturing and skills – inspiring thousands of young people to enter a profession that is rewarding in so many ways."

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