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WorldSkills Competition gets underway
The 2007 WorldSkills Competition starts today in in Shizuoka, in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Japan.
WorldSkills is an international skills competition held every two years, where young people from 48 member countries meet and compete in 40 different vocational skills, including beauty therapy, web design, cabinet making, floristry and engineering.
Over four days of competition, the competitors test themselves against international standards. The ultimate prizes are gold, silver and bronze medals.
The UK team was selected in March following a series of 'play-off' events. The team flew out to Japan last week, accompanied by a team of volunteer training managers who have helped prepare the team and who will now take part in judging the event as part of an international panel.
David Lammy, minister for skills, said: "The 2007 UK WorldSkills team have each proven themselves to be among the best in the country at their respective skills, and through their achievements these young men and women are ideal ambassadors for vocational education and training.
"This country has world class skills and we are proud to show off the unbelievable talent amongst our young people in sector after sector across the economy."
The UK WorldSkills team is managed by UK Skills working in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Scottish Executive, the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, the Welsh Assembly Government and partners from education, government and industry.
Simon Bartley, chief executive of UK Skills, said: "These young people have earned the right to represent the UK in Japan. Each one proved their abilities at the selection event earlier this year and has dedicated six months to perfecting their skills under the expert eye of their training manager. Now is their chance to test themselves against the best in the world and I wish them every success in doing so."
According to Chris Humphries, director-general of City & Guilds and chairman of UK Skills: "The UK team will compete under extraordinary pressure on tasks and to standards that would challenge any top craftsman or woman of twenty years experience. To these twenty two young UK champions, we should offer our heartfelt best wishes for their success in Japan next month, and the honour of a champions' welcome on their return."
Supporters of the 2007 team include: City & Guilds; the Learning and Skills Council; the Quality Improvement Agency; Honda,; L'Oréal Professionnel; Snickers Workwear; and Brathay.
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