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Lindsay Gaskill, Lead Practitioner TEL at NCD, has extensive experience in the FE sector and works across all skills development areas for both staff and students. Lindsay explains that the ƵAPP encourages its students to compete in WorldSkills UK Competitions to develop, stretch and challenge their knowledge and skills. This benefits the students themselves and other colleges and employers within the region, she said:

“I have integrated and trained SEND students with mainstream students who have gone on to compete in both regional and national competitions and achieved various awards and medals. Competition activity is an important component of curriculum design, it provides opportunities for students to step outside of their comfort zone and showcase their skills and talents within their respective vocational areas.

“Skills development also gives future employers a more highly-skilled, work-ready employee. The senior management team at NCD is very supportive of the initiatives to develop skills attainment, both morally and financially and wants the students to have an enriched learning experience whilst at the college. I lead on regional and national competitions and coordinate competition activities across various curriculum areas and liaise with external stakeholders to ensure they are promoted and quality-assured.”

New ƵAPP Durham supports local, regional and national skills development through assessing skills and knowledge with CPD initiatives and support mechanisms involving surrounding colleges and promotes skills regionally and nationally as well as guiding and supporting other colleges in the surrounding areas, so the whole region benefits. Masterclasses develop knowledge, skills and behaviours and explore new technologies. Competitors encounter employers through interacting with judges and sponsors from local, regional and national businesses, as well as being able to showcase and demonstrate their skills directly to employers at high profile events.

Lindsay continues “Aside from technical skills development, competitions also enable students to refine their employability and attitude skills, such as time management, reliability, resilience, teamwork and self-confidence. These skills are increasingly called for by employers across a range of sectors for individual performance management and competitors who raise standards in the workplace for others to benchmark themselves against.