WorldSkills UK chief urges government boost

The chief executive of WorldSkills UK has urged the new government to invest in technical education and skills to ensure the long-term success of the country.

Dr Bentley-Gockmann with Team UK members

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann was speaking ahead of the 45thSkills Olympics in Russia, where 37 young men and women will be representing the UK in a range of technical activities. According to the CEO, the new prime minister must deliver investment in technical skills if the UK is to prosper in the aftermath of Brexit.

“Skills are integral to the UK economy – there is nothing more important to the UK’s future than having an economy that’s functioning and internationally competitive,” said Dr Bentley-Gockmann.

“My message to the new PM: we need a skills upgrade and it needs to be world class in technical education. The current government has recognised that through its policy reviews - now it’s time to put that into action.

“WorldSkills UK and the work we do with WorldSkills internationally can play an integral role in helping the new PM deliver on that to upgrade the skills system and make it world class.”

The 2019 WorldSkills show is taking place from August 22–27 in Kazan, 800km east of Moscow. The event will see teams from more than 70 countries compete in 56 disciplines ranging from cybersecurity and 3D game design, to plumbing, painting & decorating, electrical installation, cooking and floristry. Members of Team UK have been selected after excelling in WorldSkills UK competitions, which are designed to equip young people with the skills needed to help UK businesses better compete globally.

“Preparations are going fantastically well,” said Dr Bentley-Gockmann. “They have been doing huge amounts of training and international pressure testing to get themselves technically ready to compete, but we take a holistic approach to performance.

“Sporting Olympians are on hand to give them top tips as to how to represent their country, deal with the pressure and issues around nutrition and mindset, really getting themselves in the zone, so that they can do their country and families proud and make sure that they are flying the Union Flag.”