After months of preparation, hundreds of hours of training and numerous tests and competitions, the 22 members of Team UK will find out today if their hard work has paid off as they test their skills against competitors from 35 countries in the biennial EuroSkills competition.
As they entered the Scandinavium arena in Gothenburg, Sweden, last night for the opening ceremony of EuroSkills 2016, members of Team UK told TES of the very different hopes they have for the next few days. “I want gold,” said Danielle Scandone, from Merrist Wood College in Surrey, who will be competing in florestry. She was not nervous, she explained, adding that the experience of meeting the other teams had been “amazing.”
Daniel McCabe, from West Cheshire College, who will represent Team UK in the 3D game design category, said: “I have spent a lot of time since we arrived sussing out the competition. I just want to me make me, everyone who supported me and my country proud.”
'You have to wish for a medal'
After cheering on the competitors in the glittering opening ceremony, the experts who supported Team UK in each discipline said the participants had done everything they could to prepare for the competition. Lynda Owen, the Team UK expert in florestry, said: “You have to wish for a medal. Danielle has done all she can. I hope she can stay focused – then you just never know what can happen on the day. Danielle does not get nervous, but I get nervous for her.”
But Colin McKnight, expert in landscape gardening, said Euroskills was primarily regarded a stepping stone on the way to the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi next year. “They are by no means the finished article yet, but they don’t need to be," he said. "Everyone wants a Medallion of Excellence or better, but I am not looking at medals so much at this point. If they come away happy, I will be happy.”