Known as the ‘Olympics of skills’, the WorldSkills finals are held every two years. The most talented people from over 59 different countries competed across a diverse range of abilities and skills – from beauty therapy to mechanical engineering, to earn the title ‘best in the world’ in their respective categories.
Earning a place in Team UK was no easy feat. Competitors had to endure two years of testing and observation, whilst in employment and undertaking regular training sessions.
Each member of the team was put through the UK selection competition and participated in the finals at the Skills Show, as well as the EuroSkills in Gothenburg. Since then, the 34 chosen ones have undertaken Olympic style training regimes before making a 3,000-mile journey to Abu Dhabi.
After a spectacular opening ceremony, Team UK reaffirmed their position as one of the best in the world at vocational skills by earning one gold, three silvers, three bronzes and thirteen medallions of excellence, putting them in 10th position for medal points.
Team UK’s gold was won by Kaiya Swain, as the 22-year-old was voted the world’s best young beauty therapist. She celebrated her victory at the closing ceremony in front of 15,000 spectators at the du Arena.
The team’s silver medallists included Archie Stoke-Faiers, 22, from Weymouth College, car-painter Daryl Head, 21, from Thatcham Automotive Academy, and visual merchandiser Catherine Abbott, 21, from East Berkshire College.
Picking up the bronze medals were plumber Dan Martins, 20, from EAS Mechanical, cabinet-maker Angus Bruce-Gardner, 22, from Waters & Acland, and auto-repairer Andrew Gault, 20, from Riverpark Training and Development.