‘I was really shell-shocked’: Skilled Scots take on world

Two young stars will be part of Team UK at the WorldSkills finals in Abu Dhabi
5th May 2017, 12:00am
Magazine Article Image


‘I was really shell-shocked’: Skilled Scots take on world


Three years of hard work and dozens of skills competitions have paid off for two young Scots who have been revealed as members of Team UK for this year’s WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi.

Betsy Crosbie, 21, an HNC student at New College Lanarkshire, will represent Britain in mechanical engineering computer-aided design (CAD). Meanwhile, Jordan Charters, 21, a former Edinburgh College student who is about to complete his apprenticeship in the city, has made the team as the painting and decorating competitor.

The two were announced along with 30 other members of Team UK last week; the UK representatives in two further skills, cooking and car painting, will be announced next month. To make the team, the competitors spent hundreds of hours training, and - in some cases over a period of three years - beat thousands of other competitors in local, regional and national competitions. The skills ranged from jewellery-making to bricklaying and 3D digital game art.

Emotional experiences

They also had to meet an international standard in their skill to be allowed to compete in the finals in Abu Dhabi this October.

“I am so happy about it,” Ms Crosbie said. “I want to go and tell everyone about it.” Jordan Charters admitted that he had struggled with his emotions after the team selection competition last month, in which he was up against Jordan Jeffers, a 2016 EuroSkills competitor.

“We had no idea who was going to get to go to Abu Dhabi, but I thought my performance was the best I had ever done, so I thought I had a chance. I was shaking and I had a lump in my throat when they told me, and I was trying not to cry. I was really shell-shocked,” he said.

But for the two Scots, the hard work is far from over. Barry Skea, the skills expert for mechanical engineering CAD for Team UK, who was responsible for Ms Crosbie’s training, said there would now be “lots of training on a weekly basis”.

“The college will look to support Betsy every week between now and Abu Dhabi, and we will look for some international opportunities, too, as pressure tests, to make sure she is well prepared.”

He added: “I am delighted for Betsy. She worked so hard and she faced a lot of challenges along the way.”


Rigorous preparation

The competitor now getting ready for the world stage is a far cry from the young student he encountered in class at the beginning of the process, he said. “Betsy was very quiet when I first met her, but she has gained so much confidence. She was sitting in the back of the classroom, and now she gets up and talks about her journey in front of 600 people.”

And Ms Crosbie said: “I know it will be a lot of training, but it will be really good for me because it will best prepare me for going over to Abu Dhabi. And then after that, all the extra training will help me in my career.

“Everybody wants to go out there to get a medal, but just going is amazing.”

Mr Charters added: “I am really excited now to get down to the nitty-gritty. I am not going to leave any stone unturned and I am going to be making sure I am as well-prepared as I can be. I would not be going if I didn’t want to win, and if I don’t win, I will know I tried everything I could.”

WorldSkills UK chief executive Neil Bentley said the competition in Abu Dhabi was “more important than international sporting fixtures, spurring on competitors to achieve the highest international standards to inspire more and more young people to get into apprenticeships and technical careers, getting them off to the best start in work and life”. He added: “Team UK represents the very future success of our economy and what they represent will help determine whether we thrive or fail post-Brexit.”


You need a Tes subscription to read this article

Subscribe now to read this article and get other subscriber-only content

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive articles and email newletters

Already registered? Log in

You need a subscription to read this article

Subscribe now to read this article and get other subscriber-only content, including:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive articles and email newsletters
Most read
Most shared