Scottish Skills Champions Sought

Young Scots in vocational education, training or work are being urged to sign up for WorldSkills UK competitions for the chance to represent the UK on the global stage.

The Scottish Government is encouraging young people aged 16-23 to sign up for WorldSkills UK competitions, which see talented youngsters compete against their peers to demonstrate their vocational skills.

Young people who are successful in the regional network of these skills competitions could be in with the chance to compete for Team UK at WorldSkills 2011, which takes place at ExCeL, London between 5th – 8th October 2011

The WorldSkills Competition is the biggest skills competition in the world and is held every two years in one of its member countries. It sets world class standards in over 40 skill categories ranging from bricklaying to beauty therapy.

Competitors from 50 countries compete over four days of intense competition in over 40 different skills for gold, silver and bronze medals. Approximately 1,000 people took part in WorldSkills Calgary 2009, which saw Scottish competitors bring home four medals – including two gold – in Painting and Decorating, Restaurant Service, Electrical Installation and Mechanical Engineering CAD.

22 year old Richard Sagar from Langholm, Dumfriesshire, brought home a gold medal in Electrical Installation.  He said: “Securing a place in the WorldSkills 2009 finals was a huge achievement. However to take home gold was one of the greatest moments in my life. Receiving my medal was a very special moment and a huge honour as I was up against some really talented people.

“Although I knew the competition would be hard I was focused and determined to succeed and my training certainly paid off.”

Someone who hopes to replicate Richard’s success at WorldSkills London 2011 is 19 year old Stephen Butler from Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire.  Stephen has experienced firsthand what it is like to take centre stage at a WorldSkills UK competition.

Stephen, left Balfron High School in 2007 to work as an apprentice with Ian McDonald Ltd which specialises in roofing and plastering.  He is also studying for his HND in roof slating, tiling and brickwork at South Lanarkshire College.

After showing a high level of knowledge and understanding in his trade he was put forward for the WorldSkills UK competition, known as SkillBuild, by his tutor who recognised his talents.  Stephen won his first heat and secured a place in the WorldSkills UK final in 2008, where he finished second.

Stephen is currently in his second year at college and is looking to build on his talent and experience in the hope that one day he will have his own business.

Stephen said: “Participating in the WorldSkills UK  competition was not only a great experience but it also helped to boost my confidence.

 “I would definitely recommend others to enter into skills competitions.  It is a great opportunity to showcase your work alongside your peers and leaves you with an achievement for life.  Both my family and employer were very proud of my achievements.  I would love the opportunity to take part in WorldSkills London 2011 as it would really let me push my career forward further.”

Damien Yeates, chief executive of Skills Development Scotland, Scotland’s national skills body, said: “WorldSkills UK and international WorldSkills competitions offer young people in vocational education, training or employment the chance to achieve recognition for their skills and talent on the global stage.

“Those who are working towards vocational qualifications or are employed in vocational areas are often mastering what can be extremely complicated skills and techniques and it’s important that they are given the appropriate recognition for their hard work. 

“Scotland has a rich history of success in vocational areas, producing highly-skilled craftsmen and pioneering engineers.  It’s important that a new generation of Scots are given the chance to fly the flag on the world stage for their country.”

To find out more about registering to take part in skills competitions, visit


To find out more about WorldSkills London 2011 please visit



Issued by The BIG Partnership of behalf of the Scottish Government


Contact: Helen Wilson
Phone: 0141 333 9585