BILLINGHAM’S Simon Noble, is bidding to be the world’s best at a global skills event.

BILLINGHAM’S Simon Noble, is bidding to be the world’s best at a global skills event.

He is part of a team of 22 people from across the country who will represent the UK in the WorldSkills event, being staged in Japan from November 14 to 21.

The competition, also known as the “Skills Olympics”, showcases the talents of apprentices around the world in a variety of occupational categories from traditional areas such as sheetmetal work, jewellery, plumbing and autobody repair to non-traditional skills including graphic design, IT and web design

Simon will take part in the auto body repair section, carrying out complex major panel crash repairs on a Lexus and resetting the safety restraint systems.

The talented Teessider, who has already been awarded the title of Young Panel Technician of the Year in the Bodyshop Magazine Industry Awards for two years running, has been through a rigorous selection process involving rounds of competition at the highest level.

Simon, who has served his apprenticeship at Simon Bailes in Northallerton, said: “I am delighted to have been afforded this opportunity to represent the UK in my chosen skill.

“It has been hard work to qualify and a very personal journey of self discovery but with all the support I have received from the teams at Simon Bailes Peugeot and UK Skills, my skills have never been stronger.”

Staged over four days, the event is run by the WorldSkills organisation and has been held every two years since 1953.

It brings together member countries from around the globe to pit the skills of their young people against the best the world has to offer.

Also representing the North-east will be Andrew Critchlow, 21 and from Choppington in Northumberland.

He will compete in the IT PC and Network Support category, setting up and testing different network formats.

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Simon and Andrew will be joined in Numaza City by a pair of judges from the region who will help decide which of the 850 young people, drawn from over 45 member countries, will come home with medals from the 47 disciplines being tested.

Jen Bell, curriculum area manager at Northumberland College, has helped select and train the UK’s IT competitor and will be one of the judges in that category, while Bill McGawley, executive vice-chairman TDR Group will scrutinise the Manufacturing Team Challenge (MTC), having been responsible for selecting, training and leading the UK MTC team.

Jacqui Henderson, chief executive of UK Skills, said. “Every person selected for the 2007 WorldSkills team has demonstrated in the team selection competition that they are among the best in the UK in their sector.

“It is extremely exciting to watch them progress from national to international standards of excellence, and the level of proficiency they have demonstrated bodes extremely well for WorldSkills Japan.”

UK Skills has also secured the competition for this country in 2011 – just ahead of the Olympic Games.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East is working with partners to raise awareness about the competition with employers in the region in a bid to get as many competitors as possible from the North-east at the London event.

Chris Roberts, regional director with the Learning and Skills Council North East, said: “It is fantastic the region has two of the UK’s best skilled young people heading off to represent their country in such a major event.

“I am sure they will enjoy it and acquit themselves very well.

“Given that North-east employers are top of the league in terms of signing up for our Train to Gain service, I feel sure we will have even more members in future UK teams.

“Competing in events like this will better equip the region to compete in ever more challenging and global market places. Recognising and rewarding individuals who have achieved is an important step towards encouraging others to participate in and achieve success learning.

“It has never been so important for individuals and employers to equip themselves with the skills they need to succeed. We all have the capacity to succeed and help is at hand. Our futures are in our own hands.”


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