WorldSkills Finals showcase talent of UK technical apprentices

The National Finals of WorldSkills - dubbed the ’Olympics for technical apprentices’ - were hosted at The University of Manchester in November, with both the Laboratory Technician and Forensic Science competitions being held on campus.

Competitors from across the UK gathered to test their skills, with a crime-scene experiment being set up in the Great Hall in the Sackville Street Building (pictured below) and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) offering a hub room and lab spaces for both sets of contestants to demonstrate their technical skills.

The competitors completed two days of experiments under close scrutiny from judges and VIP guests from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Science Council and WorldSkills.

Regional qualifiers

Previously, two of our apprentices competed in the WorldSkills Regional Competition for Laboratory Science in June. Both Sam Davies and Thomas Sherratt (pictured below) have been on the Technical Apprenticeship Programme for three years and are in their second-year of their Laboratory Science degrees. They completed a range of experiments from organic synthesis to separation techniques. Thomas (left) qualified for the National competition.

The results of the National Finals were broadcast live on Channel 4 on Friday 26 November as part of the Steph’s Packed Lunch programme, hosted by Steph McGovern. Although Thomas was not a medal winner, getting to the position he did was a significant achievement, and he will continue to be a skills champion for apprentices at the university.

The winners of the two categories hosted at the GEIC were both from Wales: Paige Tynan from Wrexham Glyndwr University (Forensic Science) and Joel Farrant from Coleg Gower (Laboratory Technician). Congratulations to both and to all the competition's medal winners and contestants. A full list of medallists can be found at.