The 2019 IMI Skill Auto finalists who have made it through to the WorldSkills UK talent programme and will now spend the next 18 months training for their chance to represent the UK at World Skills Shanghai 2021 are…


  • Graeme Nevin: Auto Body Repair – Riverpark Training and Development Northern Ireland
  • Matthew Sutton: Auto Body Repair – Training 2000 Limited North West
  • Harry Chaundy: Automobile Technology – GTG Training Scotland
  • Matthew Bundy: Automobile Technology – Skillnet London
  • Billie Jo McKenzie: Automobile Technology – South West College Northern Ireland
  • Josh Jones: Car Painting NPTC Group – Pontardawe College Wales
  • Craig Kennedy: Car Painting – Riverpark Training and Development Northern Ireland
  • Aubrey Whiteside: Car Painting – Riverpark Training and Development Northern Ireland


Skilled elite to help transform technical education training

WorldSkills UK, the education and skills charity, today (8 January 2020) named the 137 apprentices and students who will join its talent programme for the ‘skills olympics’ which will next be held in Shanghai, China in 2021.

Alongside the announcement, the charity which manages the UK’s entry into the ‘skills olympics’, known officially as WorldSkills, set out its ambition over the next decade to use its ongoing participation in this global event to bring back innovation from other leading world economies to the UK to help create a world-class skill system to support economic growth, productivity and competitiveness. Its goal is to mainstream the excellence in teaching, training and assessment to be received by the young people in the WorldSkills UK elite squad announced today, so more and more young people all across the UK can also benefit from world-class training methods.


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “As someone whose job is to be an ambassador for this country and the fantastic range of skills and innovation our young people can offer, I’m excited to see another talented group of young people preparing to showcase their skills on the global stage.

“This government is levelling up skills and opportunity across Britain – either through investment in further education and training, the creation of new T Levels which will be taught from this September or working hand in hand with industry to create more high-quality apprenticeships. That work means the future can only get brighter and I look forward to championing the talent and skills of our young people for many years to come.”

WorldSkills has a global reach with over 80 countries and regions participating in the event, and this provides WorldSkills UK with unique access to skills innovation from around the world.  Through its Productivity Lab programme, WorldSkills UK announced it is seeking to work with partners in education, training and business to use this insight to mainstream global best practice to raise standards in everyday training to world-class levels.  It believes this focus on excellence will inspire more young people, from all backgrounds, to take up apprenticeships and technical education as a prestige route to success for them and their employers.


Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said: “It is fantastic to see such a strong squad of young people all of whom are aiming to represent the UK on the world stage in Shanghai.

“They will be flying the flag for the UK, demonstrating to the rest of the world that we are developing the high quality skills needed to help us to trade internationally and attract inward investment across all of the UK to creating and maintain jobs. Now more than ever, we need to invest in excellence in training for the next generation if we are to remain competitive globally and help create a thriving economy.

“Congratulations to all of those on the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme, they really are the high flyers of their generation and should help inspire young people and parents everywhere – turning vocational snobbery on its head – showing that choosing a technical career is a clear route to success in work and life.”

The apprentices and students on the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme will now spend the next 18 months in training. This is fitted around their study and employment commitments before they face the ultimate selection test next year to secure a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills Shanghai 2021.


For more information, please contact:

Kate Moloughney, Senior Communications Manager, WorldSkills UK / 07810156478


About WorldSkills UK

WorldSkills UK is a partnership between business, education and governments.  We work to accelerate the development of young people’s skills from national to world-class standards. We’re creating a new generation of high flyers that give UK employers a competitive edge.

For 66 years, WorldSkills UK has been a leading player in WorldSkills International. This global movement brings together 80 countries to organise the biennial ‘skills Olympics’.

We help young people think about their futures by delivering experiential careers events and deploying high-achieving young role models to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Our flagship event, WorldSkills UK LIVE, is the nation’s largest skills, apprenticeship and careers event.

For more information visit



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