Members of Team UK competing in the WorldSkills 2015 competition in Brazil have claimed an impressive haul of medals – including the flagship prize for the best overall performance.
Representatives from the UK will return from São Paulo with three gold medals, four silvers, two bronzes and 24 medallions of excellence.
And, as well as claiming a gold medal in beauty therapy, Rianne Chester (pictured) has become the UK’s first ever competitor to receive the prestigious Albert Vidal Award, which is awarded for the most points scored in the whole competition.
The other UK gold medal-winners were Gary Doyle (plumbing and heating) and Edward Harringman (cabinetmaking).
The silvers were claimed by Jonathan Gill and Matthew Beesley (landscape gardening), Shayne Hadland (aircraft maintenance) and Chris Bailie (refrigeration and air conditioning). Sam Turner (stonemasonry) and Rebecca Wilson (car painting) will return to the UK with bronze medals.
Skills minister Nick Boles said: “Congratulations to Team UK on its impressive medal tally and achievement at WorldSkills São Paulo. Their hard work shows how far apprenticeships and professional and technical training can take young people, and the skills they are learning will help drive them towards an exciting and rewarding career.”
Carole Stott, chair of Find a Future, which manages the UK’s entry, said the competition had given Team UK the “opportunity to showcase the UK's vocational and further education system on a global stage”.
“The hard work they have all put in over the past two years to prepare for the competition, alongside their committed training managers, has really paid off and we are thrilled with the results they have achieved,” she added.
Ms Chester said winning the Albert Vidal Award was a “dream come true”. “The whole of Team UK worked really hard and the experience of the competition is something we will never forget,” she added. “We have all learned so much during the process – knowledge and new skills that we can take with us as we progress in our careers.”
Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: "It is fantastic to see our college students achieving gold and silver medals as well as medallions of excellence against such strong global competition.
“Not only did the students get the opportunity to showcase the technical and professional skills they’ve gained at college to a worldwide audience but they’ve really focused on honing the skills they need for the workplace."
The overall medal table is expected to be published tomorrow, once the results have been finalised. At the last WorldSkills competition in Leipzig in 2013, the UK finished in 10th position.