Welsh youngsters named among best in the world at international skills competition


Updated 06/09/2019

Talented young people from across Wales have been recognised as world-class experts at the WorldSkills International competition in Russia.

The event is the world’s largest skills competition and took place across four days in Kazan with young people from more than 63 counties battling it out to be awarded a medal in their chosen skill.

This year, the 37-strong team for the UK included seven Welsh competitors, the highest proportion to date. In total, Team UK won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze along with 15 Medallions of Excellence, bringing their total to 19 awards.

Six of the medals won by Team UK came from Wales:

  • Phoebe McLavy – hairdressing – Bronze
  • Chris Caine – joinery – Medallion of Excellence,
  • Sam Everton – cookery – Medallion of Excellence,
  • Thomas Lewis – electrical installation – Medallion of Excellence,
  • Collette Gorvett – restaurant services – Medallion of Excellence (Gower College Swansea),
  • Thomas Thomas – plumbing and heating – Medallion of Excellence.

Phoebe McLavy, bronze medal winner, said: “To be named one of the top three young hairdressers in the world feels amazing and was a total shock.

“When it was announced, I started shaking, I just couldn’t believe it. Walking up to the podium and hearing the cheers from the crowd and my teammates was an amazing and surreal experience.

“As soon as I had got off the podium and saw my friends and family, what I had achieved started to hit me which made me really emotional.

“During the competition I felt confident in my work, although I wasn’t sure I would get a medal as it included a lot of style I hadn’t practiced before including complex arrangements with extensions.

“Going into the competition, I knew how talented the Chinese and Russian competitors were as I’d competed against them before in my training. I made sure I was focused on my own work and tried not to get distracted.

“Since returning from Kazan, my win has started to sink in but it still feels like a dream. I’ve had calls from friends and family congratulating me on my bronze medal and am so proud of what I have achieved.”

Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates said: “Having seven Welsh competitors in Team UK demonstrates the very talented young people we have here in Wales and the growing strength of our skills base right across the country.

“These young people have represented Wales and their employers on a global scale and demonstrate Wales’ commitment, as a country, to investing in our future generations. 

“To return home with six medals, including a Bronze, is a testament to these individuals’ skills, talent and dedication and we are incredibly proud of our Welsh competitors.”

Thanks: Golley Slater

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