Archie Stoke-Faiers has made it into Team UK as the architectural stonemasonry competitor in the WorldSkills competition being held this year (14-19 October) in Abu Dhabi.
Archie is 22. He trained at Weymouth College and is now self-employed. He was selected after a four-day competition from 29 March to 1 April at Stockport College. He was competing against another finalist, Toby Brook, who works for Wells Cathedral Stonemasons and trains at Bath College.
Kevin Calpin, of Calpin Associates, trained both Toby and Archie for the selection competition and will now work intensively with Archie to prepare him for the WorldSkills final.
Armondas Tamulis, 20, who trained at Southern Regional College, also gains a place in the UK team in the Wall & Floor Tiling category. He is trained by Paul Doran from Southern Regional College.
The process has seen the successful competitors win regional heats, a national final, European finals and then the final selection competition at Stockport in April to demonstrate they can meet the most testing international standards under competition conditions.
Archie and Armondas join 30 other talented skilled youngsters who will compete over four days in Abu Dhabi against more than a thousand others from 70 countries in the hope of being good enough to walk away with a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal.
Other skills represented in Team UK range from aircraft maintenance and mechanical engineering to restaurant service and cyber security.
WorldSkills UK, which helps young people ‘Go Further, Faster’, as it says, is spearheading the use of competition in the workplace, training centres, schools and colleges to inspire the next generation and fill the skills gap.
Dr Neil Bentley, WorldSkills UK Chief Executive, says: “Team UK represents the very future success of our economy and what they represent will help determine whether we thrive or fail post Brexit.”
That seems rather a lot of responsibility to pile on to their young shoulders, but we wish them every success.