West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds officially partners with WorldSkills
A Bury St Edmunds college has officially joined some of the world's elite after partnering with a 'global hub for skills'.
West Suffolk College has joined up with WorldSkills and in the process become a 'Centre of Excellence'.
The partnership means students and staff at the college have access to 'high performance coaches' from WorldSkills UK.
The coaches have already started working with teachers and hundreds of art, graphic design, hair and beauty, joiner, mechatronics and media students at the college.
As part of their role, they have been running 'pressure tests' - mock tests to prepare students to compete at future WorldSkills competitions, where students on vocational courses at some of the best colleges around the world compete to see who is the best.
Dawson Davidson, 19, of Mildenhall, is an apprentice joiner who works in Brandon.
He was in one of the pressure tests in which he had to construct a ladder using traditional joining techniques.
He said: “Being involved in this is all about improving your skills, being precise and setting a good example.
"It gives you the opportunity to showcase your talents.
"It also makes you want to do your best as you feel like you are representing the college and the company you work for.”
Brian Tunbridge is a construction lecturer at the college who is one of the five teachers to benefit from WorldSkills UK advice.
He said: "Being a Centre of Excellence reaffirms our reputation with employers beyond our region and helps satisfy our ambitions of working at a global level.
"The world of work constantly evolves.
"Four other lecturers from different departments and myself have collectively joined forces to ultimately raise the bar to an international level.
"This will benefit the students who will gain more from their time with us as we continually look to improve the standards of teaching on all of our courses.
"We are also looking forward to gaining knowledge from colleagues in other parts of the world.”
Frazer Minskip, a high performance skills coach representing WorldSkills UK, said: “We are incredibly proud to be working with West Suffolk College.
"This partnership is so important.
"It’s all about bridging skills gaps and working and with other countries so that our economy can prosper.
"This will help enable Britain to become a truly global powerhouse.
"The Centre of Excellence scheme has been a great success, both at West Suffolk College and across the country.
"The five educators we are supporting have been tremendous and judging by my visit the overall progress that is being made is outstanding.”
Dr Nikos Savvas, CEO of West Suffolk College and Suffolk Academies Trust, said: “I am immensely proud that the commitment, energy and dedication of our College community has been chosen for this amazing partnership.
"We are elite and not elitist - actively shaping our communities by offering upskilling and reskilling from technical training to degrees.
"As a WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence we now have access to global knowledge – giving our students more opportunities to flourish and build the local and global economies of the future by matching high performance skills to jobs."