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Former SWC Apprentice shines bright at ‘the EuroSkills Olympics’

Team UK, an elite group of apprentices and young professionals, has emerged victorious at Europe's largest skills competition, earning a total of nine medals at 'the Euro Skills Olympics' in Gdańsk, Poland from 5th to 9th September 2023, with former South West College Electrical apprentice Daniel Knox, from Enniskillen, among the winners.

Representing Team UK, Daniel, aged 21, who works at GP Electrical and Security Ltd, competed in the competitive Electrical Installation category, and won a prestigious ‘Medallion for Excellence’, a testament to his exceptional performance adhering to world-class standards in electrical installation.

Expressing his surprise and joy at his achievement, Daniel said,

"I was not expecting it at all, it was hard going, but I really enjoyed it. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

"I have learned so much from this experience, and without a doubt, it has helped me improve in my career as an Electrician. I would like to say a huge thank you to my tutors at the College and my boss, Gary Phair, as well as Team UK, who have been very supportive in my journey to this stage."

Securing a place on Team UK was no easy task for Daniel. He underwent a rigorous selection process that began last year, where he showcased his remarkable skills by clinching the gold medal at the WorldSkills UK national finals.

Under the expert guidance and mentorship of WorldSkills UK, Daniel and his talented teammates from Team UK represented their country at the EuroSkills Finals; Team UK achieved remarkable success, earning one Gold and two bronze medals, along with six Medallions for Excellence. Competing against participants from 32 different nations across 42 skill disciplines, Team UK impressed panels of leading experts in their respective fields, showcasing their outstanding talent to around 100,000 visitors from Poland and Europe.

Government and industry representatives were also present at the competition, highlighting the benchmarking of UK skills against the European gold standard.

Looking ahead, Daniel and the entire Team UK are now focused on their next challenge: the WorldSkills finals in Lyon in 2024. Here, they will compete on a global stage against skilled apprentices and students from around the world, once again exhibiting their talents and proudly representing the UK.

Ben Blackledge, the CEO of WorldSkills UK celebrated the success. He said:

“This is a tremendous result for Daniel – and Team UK. Each one of them should be proud of their achievement.

“EuroSkills’ gives us the opportunity to compare UK skills against those in the rest of Europe. This is not just good news for those that compete here and at the WorldSkills Finals in Lyon next year, but it is an opportunity for all students and apprentices from the UK.

“These competitions provide a unique opportunity for us to learn from the best in the world and bring that international best practice back to the UK through the programmes we run at WorldSkills UK.”

Congratulating Daniel and Team UK, Christopher Robinson, Head of Work Based Learning at SWC, said:

"We take great pride in Daniel's remarkable talent, unwavering determination, and meticulous attention to detail demonstrated throughout his journey and we are delighted to witness him receive the well-deserved recognition he has earned. Daniel embodies all the qualities of an exemplary Apprentice and is held in high esteem by both the College and his Employer, GP Electrical.

“We would like to thank all the teaching team at the College and Daniel's employer for their unwavering support at every step of his journey. Our strong apprenticeship partnerships with local employers are highly valued, as we collaborate to empower students like Daniel to develop their skills and mindset, paving the way for their success in the modern business landscape and contributing positively to the prosperity of our region."

"Daniel's remarkable accomplishment and the success of Team UK highlight the power of participation in prestigious national and international events like this. These opportunities not only support College education and hands-on training but also showcase the exceptional talents of regional students and apprentices on a global stage. Witnessing their achievements not only raises the standards of the apprenticeship system, but it also fills us with pride as well as the industry as a profession. We wish Daniel and Team UK continued success as they advance to the next stages."

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