In the words of her teacher, Betsy Crosbie is “in the zone”. Her headphones drown out the noise around her and her eyes remain focused on the computer screen as she works her way through the exercises in front of her. Nothing can distract her – not the other students in the room, nor the people who keep walking in and out.
This is a crucial skill for her to develop, because next week she will find herself at a workstation among dozens of competitors from across Europe, trying to pull off the performance of a lifetime.
Crosbie will be one of 23 members of Team UK for EuroSkills 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden, a continent-wide skills competition (see box, below). She will be participating in the mechanical engineering contest, specifically in the computer-aided design (CAD) category.
The 20-year-old from East Kilbride in Scotland completed an HND in computer-aided draughting and design at New College Lanarkshire and, after some time working in industry, returned to college to study for an HNC in mechanical engineering. In the final month before she competes in Gothenburg, Crosbie has been training on an almost daily basis.
“It is a lot of training,” Crosbie says. “It is a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end.” Her main concern, she explains, is remaining focused on the task in hand while some 450 competitors are working around her. “If I can stay in the zone, I will be fine,” she says. “Even if I don’t get a medal over there, I will be proud just for getting to that point.”
'A lot of training' for EuroSkills
In the build-up to competing at EuroSkills in Sweden, Crosbie has already been through a gruelling selection process of regional and national competitions, culminating in winning a silver medal at WorldSkills UK in Birmingham last year. Since June, she has put in at least three full days of training every month, often with additional work in the evenings.
On her way to EuroSkills, Crosbie has managed to outshine two other competitors: Calum Waltho, a former New College Lanarkshire student, who won a bronze medal in Birmingham last year; and Michael Skora, from Southern Regional College in Northern Ireland, who won gold. But while Crosbie earned the place at EuroSkills, the three are still training together every month at New College Lanarkshire, and all are still in with a chance of competing in WorldSkills Abu Dhabi next year.
This is an edited article from the 25 November edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week's TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here