Auto Refinishing Apprentice Joshua Jones has won a place in the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme ahead of the 2021 WorldSkills Final in Shangai.
Josh is currently undertaking an Apprenticeship with Pathways Training (the College’s work-placed learning provider) and he spends four days a week on placement at Swansea-based vehicle body shop ‘Scuffed Up’.
Josh’s journey to the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme has seen him compete across Wales and the UK. He took silver in the World Skills Wales competition final in January 2019 and then went on to compete in the World Skills UK qualifiers (one of only eighteen of the top apprentices in the UK). It was his performance here that won him a place in the World Skills Live UK Final in November 2019 and ultimately led to him being selected for the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme.
Josh told us about his experience of the WorldSkills Live UK final which was held at the NEC in Birmingham.
“It was pretty stressful. You need to be switched on to what you are doing as all of the tasks are time-limited, so you need to stay focused throughout. It was a tough three days of competition, but luckily my scores were high enough that I was then selected for the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme, meaning I have a chance of competing of making Team UK at EuroSkills in Graz (Austria) before the WorldSkills Final in Shanghai.
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.”
Work-Based Learning Manager at Pathways Training, Alec Thomas congratulated Josh on his remarkable achievement: “Everyone at Pathways Training is delighted with Josh’s achievement. Josh has proved himself to be an accomplished auto refinisher throughout his apprenticeship and has excelled with his employer Scuffed Up. His passion for his vocation is evident to see in everything that he does and he has been rewarded with the opportunity to put his hat in the ring to compete for his country at WorldSkills. We wish him the very best with the next eighteen months of training, and beyond.”
Josh hopes one day to run his own vehicle body shop, but until then, is enjoying earning whilst working at learning.
He said “I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now, constantly improving my techniques and honing my craft, both at my workplace and during my study days at College. Being able to work at the same time as studying has been invaluable, as I learn new things every day at Scuffed Up; there are different kinds of jobs coming in every day on all kinds of cars, so you have to be adaptable. The sense of satisfaction when a customer leaves us happy is second to none, I really enjoy that.”
Josh had these words for anyone thinking of becoming an apprentice: “I would recommend an Apprenticeship with Pathways training to anyone. I loved it from the day I first walked through the door; I am learning and developing every day. It helps that I get paid as well!”
The apprentices and students on the WorldSkills UK Talent Programme will now spend the next eighteen months in ‘back to basics’ 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.