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Eight young men chosen to represent UK in Canada at the biggest skills competition in the world

It has been announced that eight young men from across the construction and building technology sectors have been chosen as members of Team UK – a team of 26 skilled young people from across the UK, who will fly to Canada in September to compete at WorldSkills Calgary 2009. They were welcomed into the team by James Cracknell, OBE and Chris Humphries, UK Skills Chairman, at an exclusive event at the House of Lords yesterday.

The Team UK members and the skills they will be competing in at WorldSkills are

Bricklaying: Sam Fairgrieve, 21, a Leicester based bricklayer who works for Jelson Homes Ltd
Cabinet Making: Luke Griffiths, 21, from Chichester, who works for Cimitree Furniture and also teaches at Chichester College
Carpentry: Cliff Williams, 21, from Talley, who is self employed
Electrical Installation: Richard Sagar, 22, from Langholm, who works for Eden Electrics
Joinery: Trevor Woods, 20, from Co Fermanagh, who works for McAleer & Teague and attends Omagh College
Painting & Decorating: Mark Nevin, 21, from East Calder, near Livingston, who works for Nevin of Edinburgh
Plumbing & Heating: Christopher Lonsdale, 22, from Bishop Auckland, who is self employed
Stonemasonry: Oliver Clack, 21, from Chichester who works for Cathedral Works Organisation (CWO) and attends Weymouth College

WorldSkills is the largest skills competition there is, with over 200,000 spectators expected to watch a total of over 900 competitors from 51 countries, competing in skills ranging from bricklaying to landscape gardening, cooking and floristry. Independent education foundation Edge is the official supporter of both Squad UK and Team UK, as part of its commitment to raising the status of practical and vocational learning. Beating other hopefuls, the young men were finally chosen for Team UK after a tough four day competition which took place at Stephenson College, Coalville, and were welcomed into Team UK by James Cracknell, OBE and Chris Humphries, UK Skills Chairman, at an exclusive event at the House of Lords today.

Simon Bartley, Chief Executive of UK Skills, who manage Team UK said “We are very pleased to welcome Sam, Luke, Cliff, Richard, Trevor, Mark, Christopher and Oliver as members of Team UK. The quality and dedication all our competitors demonstrated during the selection process was of the highest level, but the exceptional work that these young men carried out proved to judges that they had what it takes to be part of Team UK and represent their country. Being selected for the Team however does not mean it’s time to relax. From now until September they will need to train hard to make sure that they are up to the world class standard they need to be at, to be able to compete against the best in the world. We wish them luck in their final months of training.”

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said: “This team of talented young people are determined to make a difference in their careers and will represent the UK in showing the rest of the world just how talented our country is.

“In these tougher times it’s more important than ever that we continue to support and invest in the skills of our workforce, helping individuals get into and stay on at work as well as helping businesses stay competitive and prepare for the upturn.”

James Cracknell 'Double Olympic Gold medallist and adventurer' commented "I am delighted to be here today to have met so many members of the team who will represent the UK at the WorldSkills Competition in Calgary. Each of the 26 young men and women who have been selected should be rightly proud of their achievements. There is no greater thrill than representing your country. When they get to Calgary it will be the end of a very long journey as each and every one of them has already undertaken months and months of rigorous training. It will also be the start of another journey, for competing at this level will catapult their careers to a new level. I wish them the very best of luck in the competition."

WorldSkills Calgary 2009 takes place from 1st-6th September. There are 26 members of Team UK, who will compete in 25 skill categories.

The UK’s WorldSkills team is managed by UK Skills working in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and key partners from education, government and industry. Brathay provide and support the training and development of Squad and Team UK and City & Guilds support Team UK and are premier sponsors of WorldSkills London 2011.

Email: alaine@praisepr.co.uk


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