Gower College Swansea student makes team UK line up for WorldSkills’ European Showdown

Updated 06/10/2020

Fourteen of the UK’s best young apprentices and professionals have been selected to take on the crème de la crème of their European peers in the first big skills pressure test of the post Brexit era – EuroSkills.

Rhys Watts, Electronic Engineering Apprentice Technician at Gower College Swansea, is the youngest of the team, representing the UK in the Electronics Prototyping category.

Rhys has used his College course in Electronic Engineering alongside his dedicated WorldSkills UK training to reach the international standard necessary to compete in Euroskills,” said Electronic Engineering Curriculum Leader at the College and World Skills UK Training Manager, Steve Williams.

The College has embedded WorldSkills international standards into core curriculum. This has allowed three Gower College Swansea learners to become squad members for Shanghai in 2021.

The competition to achieve a place in the EuroSkills squad was fierce. The squad pushed each other to develop their technical skills to the required level, the outcome being that Rhys was selected by WorldSkills UK. His dedication to his WorldSkills journey is exemplary and as a Gower College Swansea Apprentice Technician he is now passing on his experience to this year’s academic cohort. Well done, Rhys!

We are absolutely delighted with Rhys’ success,” said Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea. “-which is a result not just of his huge commitment to the development of his own skills, but also because of the very strong support that he has had from within the College.

Three of Rhys’ colleagues have also been chosen for Squad UK and have worked so hard throughout the WorldSkills process – even through lockdown – and we can’t wait to watch the rest of their journeys unfold.”

Team UK – selected, trained and mentored by education and skills charity WorldSkills UK – will be heading to Austria in January (6 – 10) to do battle with more than 500 competitors from 28 Countries who practice 45 different skills disciplines.

The competition in Graz, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis, is seen as an important indicator as to how the UK’s skills systems measure up against key economic competitors across Europe.  

Team UK will compete in a broad spectrum of disciplines ranging from engineering to construction, hospitality and digital and creative.

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK said: “Forget the Euros next season, this is going to be epic, and far more fundamental to the future of our country – demonstrating the next generation is developing the skills we need to help build back better our economy and remain internationally competitive.

There has been so much conjecture as to how the United Kingdom will fare in terms of skills performance.  The competition with 27 of our near neighbours across the continent will be a brilliant benchmark and show what Team UK is made of.

The fab fourteen have already been through an exhaustive year long process of regional competition, national finals and team selection to get to this point.  Now they face months of intensive training raising standards to elite international level, under the guidance of WorldSkills UK Training Managers.

Governments and industry will be watching with interest to benchmark how well Team UK performs compared to the country’s main European competitors.  At the previous EuroSkills finals, held in 2018 in Budapest – Team UK finished ninth.  WorldSkills UK will use its participation in the EuroSkills Finals to direct the work of its Centre of Excellence, in partnership with NCFE, which utilises WorldSkills UK’s unique insights into European and global skills systems to mainstream excellence in skills development.