Two teams of apprentices at at a Telford firm have progressed to the national finals of WorldSkills UK after impressing judges in a recent qualifier.
The two teams of three from Ricoh UK Products Ltd (RPL) consisted of Team Innovation; featuring Eve Redden, Kian Beasley and Harrison Felton and Team Passion; featuring Kieran Rowley, Josh Wynne and Cameron Buick.
Additionally, the teams were supported by senior RPL engineers Keith Hickman and Mark Smith, along with other members of the RPL engineering team.
Mr Hickman said: “Our apprentices are more than capable of bringing home gold. It’s going to be far from easy, but I know that they’re all more than up to the challenge.
“Not only did they qualify well, but they made the qualifiers enjoyable and showed great composure and also a good bit of humour when things didn’t quite go to plan, which is a great attribute to have.
“Hopefully a lot has been learnt from the qualifiers and they will all have plenty to offer on approaching the next stage.”
WorldSkills UK is a national competition to test vocational excellence among young people across a number of categories, with this year’s finals taking place in November at colleges, independent training providers and universities across Greater Manchester.
To earn a place in the National Final of the Manufacturing Team Challenge, there were two trials which the apprentices had to complete.
The first of these involved making a custom tricycle and demonstrating how to disassemble and assemble it, which went without issue.
The second challenge was to prove the tricycle worked in a practical environment, which was easy in theory, but proved difficult in practice. When put through their paces, the tricycles experienced a few unforeseen technical hiccups.
Despite this, the WorldSkills UK judge was impressed and said the design portfolios for the tricycles were some of the best he had seen.
The qualifier took place on June 27, so the apprentices faced a nervous wait to find out if they had qualified for the National Final.
For the teams it was good news, and preparations are now in place ahead of the finals in November.
Claire Shepherd, Learning and Development Officer at RPL, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for our apprentices.
“This exciting project has helped to develop our apprentices’ engineering skills and knowledge in a variety of different disciplines, such as CAD design, manufacturing techniques, electronics and software programming, which will be valuable as they work towards completing their apprenticeships.
“We wish then the best of luck with their WorldSkills journey.We are very proud of their achievements so far!”
Source: Shropshire Star