UTC Sheffield City Centre students get set for WorldSkills UK national finals

12th November 2021

Talented engineering students from UTC Sheffield City Centre are preparing to put their skills to the ultimate test in the WorldSkills UK national finals.

Samuel Kearsley, 17, and Thomas Walshaw, 17, are among 400 students and apprentices going for gold, silver and bronze medals in a series of skills competitions this month.

The national finalists will compete across 64 technical and vocational disciplines to be crowned national skills champions.

The ambitious duo are also the only students from a University Technical College (UTC) to win a place in the finals. They will compete in the mechatronics skills competition on November 19th, 2021.

Samuel, who is studying a Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Engineering as well as two A Levels in maths and physics, said: “I feel proud to have got through to the finals, it’s a huge achievement for me. I have stayed behind after school every day to practise.”

He added: “At the UTC I am enjoying learning about new technologies that I haven't come across before and seeing how they can be used to create incredible things. I find innovation fascinating and I like the idea of being able to constantly improve the world around us.

“Developing skills that are relevant to the workplace is really important and being at the UTC has helped me to develop those skills. I have really enjoyed learning how to use the different equipment and machines. After sixth form, I would like to go to university to study engineering or get onto a degree apprenticeship in engineering.”

Thomas, who is studying three A levels in chemistry, maths and further maths, said: “I am really glad that I have made it to the finals. I am looking forward to testing myself against the other competitors. I am also really nervous because mechatronics is still very new to me.”

He added: “I enjoy the programming aspects of mechatronics. I really enjoy being able to think logically about each step that you have to go through to achieve what you want to do and I have been coming into school on my days off to practise for the competition.

“Being able to apply the skills that you learn is very important and I think the UTC facilitates this very well with the employer projects. My long-term ambition is to get a job that I find interesting and challenging. I know that I want to go into a career in engineering.”

Alex Reynolds, Principal of UTC Sheffield City Centre, said: “We are developing the next generation of highly skilled young people who will contribute to solving the global challenges that lie ahead of us, and this WorldSkills UK success is testament to that.”

He added: “The partnerships that we have with top employers and universities provide our students with an academic and technical educational experience that prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow and equips them with the skills that our region and beyond need for growth.”

UTCs are government funded technical schools that provide academic and technical qualifications to match the skills needs of regional employers, supporting economic growth and employment.

UTC Sheffield City Centre, on Matilda Street, was the first UTC to launch in Yorkshire and Humber, and it has gone from strength-to-strength since opening its doors in 2013.

At the Ofsted graded ‘good’ technical school for 13 to 19-year-olds, students complete technical qualifications in engineering and advanced manufacturing or creative and digital media, alongside GCSEs and A Levels.

Employers supporting the UTC include AES Seal, Bauer Media Group, Fernite, Festo, Finger Industries, Hive, Inspec Solutions, Lavender International, PES Performance, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Live, the University of Sheffield, Siemens and Sumo Digital.

Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, WorldSkills UK, said: “I want to offer my congratulations to all those that took part in our programme this year, especially the finalists. After a year without competitions due to the pandemic it was really encouraging to see so many people back involved this year. Our competitions and competition-based development programmes equip apprentices and students with the lifelong, world-class skills that will help increase UK productivity and competitiveness.”

He added: “We are really excited to be taking the show on the road this year with finals hosted by colleges, training providers and employers across the UK. We hope seeing the finals will inspire young people at those venues to keep developing their technical and employability skills and recognise what can be achieved by developing excellence through skills.”

This year sees the finals taking place in locations across the UK for the first time, at 23 venues. The winners will be crowned at a ceremony hosted by TV presenter Steph McGovern from her Packed Lunch studio on November 26th, 2021.

To apply now for Year 9 and Year 12 places starting in September 2022, please visit our website.

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