Wirral Met students Luke Turner, Michael Kier and Joshua Joynson have been announced as finalists in the prestigious WorldSkills UK competition.
They will now compete in the national finals from 9 – 19 November, after having been selected as the top performers in their chosen skills of Carpentry, Welding and Plastering from National Qualifiers held across the UK.
Luke is one of only seven students across the UK to secure a place in the final for carpentry. The 21-year-old joined Wirral Met in 2020 on a Level 2 Bench Joinery Diploma and has since progressed on to a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship with local employer Magenta Living. Luke spends one day a week at the college’s world-class Wirral Waters campus and four days a week at Magenta Living, undertaking a variety of joinery projects.
Luke Turner said: “The national qualifiers were tough, but I was pretty confident with what I was doing because of the training from my Wirral Met tutor. It was fun and good to stretch myself and be tested in that way. Working under pressure helps see what you are capable of.
“I was in the Lake District when I heard the news that I had made it to the national final. My tutor called me and said ‘Congratulations you’ve made it through to the national final’. I was like wow that’s crazy! It was great news. I’m excited to see what the next round holds.”
Haydn Hansford, Assistant Director of Building Services at Magenta Living said: “We are so proud of Luke for reaching the final of the WorldSkills UK competition. He has worked extremely hard and is a reliable and dedicated member of our Building Services Team.
“Our partnership with Wirral Met College is extremely valuable to us and allows us to give local students, like Luke, the opportunity to learn and gain more practical experience through an apprenticeship.
“We wish Luke all the very best for the finals, we know he is more than capable of winning!”
Michael, the only North West student finalist for welding, takes one of only 10 spots in the final in his category. The 18-year-old studies Level 3 BTEC Certificate in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering at the college’s Twelve Quays campus and is due to complete his course in 2022.
20-year-old Joshua is an apprentice plasterer for Salisbury Developments. Joshua joined the college in 2021 and is learning all aspects of the plastering trade on his level 2 course, which he is set to complete in 2023.
Over 3000 people registered to take part in the UK wide competition in March of whom only 400 made it through to battle it out across 64 disciplines to be crowned national skills champions.
Sue Higginson, Principal at Wirral Met College said: “I am so proud of Michael, Luke and Joshua who are great examples of young students who demonstrate, through hard work and dedication to learning, that they are fit for the world stage. It is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff team that has nurtured their talent.
“Wirral Met College is a WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence, which evidences our college’s standing and standards in the many industrial sectors we serve. WorldSkills UK competitions provide our students with the opportunity to showcase their specialist skills on a national stage and to benchmark themselves against the very best in the country, with the opportunity to be crowned national skills champion and take home gold, silver or bronze.”
The finalists will now compete to be crowned winners at a ceremony hosted by Steph McGovern from her Packed Lunch studio on Friday 26 November.
The national finalists from the 10 Foundation Skills competitions will be announced in October.
The programme has a real impact on those taking part, with 90% of previous entrants saying their career progression improved after competing and 86% stating their personal and employability skills had improved.
Wirral Met has been a WorldSkills Centre of Excellence since 2020 and is one of only four colleges in the North West to hold the prestigious title.
Full details of the finals and the names of all the WorldSkills UK 2021 finalists can be found here.