UTC Sheffield has brought home two medals from the prestigious WorldSkills UK.
WorldSkills UK showcases technical education to inspire more young people to choose vocational careers. Held at Birmingham NEC from November 21 to 23, the event attracted 500 competitors from colleges, universities and industry and involved 70 different skills categories.
This year, four alumni competed on behalf of UTC Sheffield City Centre, which is Ofsted graded ‘good’. The technical school, on Matilda Street, specialises in engineering and advanced manufacturing, and creative and digital media.
Alex Reynolds, principal of UTC Sheffield City Centre, said: “I’m really proud of our teams and what they have achieved. The standard is always extremely high at WorldSkills UK.”
He added: “The competition equips the next generation with the world-class skills that the economy needs to help businesses compete on a global stage. That very much reflects our ethos and approach at the UTC – our students have gone on to study and train with some top employers and universities.”
Alumni Cameron Tawn, aged 19, and Devon Slack, aged 18, who have started degree apprenticeships at Inspec Solutions in Sheffield, won silver in the industrial control competition.
Cameron, who is an assistant control systems engineer at Inspec Solutions, said: “Winning a silver medal meant a lot to us, as we had worked hard in the build up to the competition to prepare. We found programming quite challenging as the hardware was new to us.
“An interesting aspect of the competition was learning the Ziegler-Nichols Method to tune a closed loop control system. WorldSkills UK was an excellent experience and we aim to utilise the skills that we’ve developed to help us progress in our careers as Control Systems Engineers.”
Jane Stockton-Wood, office manager, Inspec Solutions, saiddded: “Inspec Solutions are thrilled that our apprentices came in at silver. This is a fantastic achievement for our next generation engineers. We feel it’s important that our apprentices have the opportunity to grow their technical skills by taking part in these kinds of events.”
She added: “We find these activities help to make them more confident and with sufficient technical ability, they will be able to speak to colleagues and clients more confidently using their specialist expertise.”
Alumni Paul Hayter, 19 and Brad Ellison, 19, won a bronze medal in the mechatronics engineering competition. Paul said: “Competing in the national final of mechatronics is a rewarding experience and, as the youngest competitors there, winning bronze was a great achievement.”
Paul is the WorldSkills Trainer at UTC Sheffield City Centre whilst studying for a Degree in Mechatronics and Robotics at the University of Sheffield and Brad is completing a Higher Level Apprenticeship with SMS Automation.
Alumni are able to continue competing in WorldSkills UK, by taking part in more advanced competitions, once they progress from the UTC to apprenticeships or university.
At the UTC, students study technical qualifications equivalent to between one and three A Levels as well as GCSEs and A levels. They also work on employer-led projects, developing skills related to the subject specialism as well as team working and problem solving.
The £10m UTC is equipped with cutting edge industry standard facilities. Employers supporting UTC Sheffield City Centre include AES Seal, Bauer Media Group, Fernite, Festo, Finger Industries, Henry Boot Construction, Hive, Lavender International, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Live, the University of Sheffield, Siemens and Sumo Digital.
UTCs are government funded technical schools that have been established to provide technical learning opportunities in partnership with employers and universities. They provide academic and technical qualifications to match the skills needs of regional employers, supporting economic growth and employment.
Young people can join the UTC in Year 9 at the age of 13 or in Year 12 at the age of 16. For more information on how to apply, and the next showcase events, visit www.utcsheffield.org.uk