WorldSkills UK national competitions are back for 2021

WorldSkills UK Live has been cancelled, so national competition finals will take place across the country this autumn

Tes Reporter

Skills and apprenticeships: WorldSkills UK national competitions will return for 2021

National skills competitions will return this year, WorldSkills UK has announced – however, WorldSkills UK Live in Birmingham has once again been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

WorldSkills UK announced today that it was relaunching its competition-based development programme, which aims to help students and apprentices to develop the high-quality that skills employers need to combat the economic impact of Covid-19. 

The programmes are designed by industry experts and assess an individual’s employability attributes against set criteria in a competitive timed environment. According to WorldSkills UK, they have a real impact on those taking part, with 90 per cent of previous entrants saying their career progression improved after taking part and 86 per cent stating that their personal and employability skills had improved.   

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Run in over 60 different skills ranging from digital, engineering and construction through to health, lifestyle and hospitality, the WorldSkills UK competitions are free to enter. Those who excel in the national qualifiers are invited to take part in the national finals, which will take place in November, with the winners crowned the UK’s best in their chosen skill at a national celebration event.

The return of WorldSkills competitions

The finalists also have the opportunity to represent the UK at WorldSkills, known as the “skills Olympics”, which takes place every two years in cities around the world. WorldSkills UK is currently training a squad of apprentices and students to take part in WorldSkills Shanghai 2022.  

Dee Aylett-Smith, head of national competitions and careers at WorldSkills UK, said:  “We know that young people have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic and that is why we have relaunched our competitions-based development programme to support more young people develop the high-quality skills employers are looking for.

“We are excited to relaunch the WorldSkills UK competitions as we know they were very much missed last year. The competitions-based development programme will play a vital role in helping young people develop the high-quality skills that employers are looking for to help rebuild the economy.

“This year’s competitions, which will run in over 60 different skill areas, will enable apprentices and students to test and develop their skills further against set criteria, designed by industry experts, in timed conditions, improving their employability opportunities."

She added: “The continued uncertainty around large-scale events, combined with the lengthy timescales and planning that is required to host all of the national finals in one venue, means we have had to take the difficult decision not to host WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC this year. 

“Our online programme of careers advice will continue and we are working with our partners to host the national finals at locations throughout the UK during November. We will host a national celebration to honour all of the finalists and demonstrate the talent we have across the UK. We believe this will present a fantastic opportunity to reach more people throughout the UK and truly showcase the culmination of this year’s national finals.”

WorldSkills UK competitions are open for registration from 19 April to 14 May. For more information and to download the free training resources, visit

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