A highly skilled young apprentice from Ballymena man has arrived in Abu Dhabi as part of Team UK to compete in the WorldSkills Finals.
Having battled through regional heats a national final, a Team UK selection process and months of intensive training, 34 skilled young apprentices are heading for the ‘Skills Olympics’ – the 44th WorldSkills Finals - among them Adam Ferguson from Ballymena.
Adam, 21, will be competing in the Landscape Gardening competition with team mate Will Burberry from Surrey.
Adam learnt his craft at CAFRE College and now works for Hillsborough Castle.
The team took part in a cultural exchange at the Al Ezzah School in Abu Dhabi and came face to face to face with an exotic desert falcon.
More than 1,000 young people, from 77 nations, who are specialist in 51 different disciplines from hairdressing to aircraft maintenance plumbing to 3D Games design, are competing for gold, silver and bronze medals.
Team UK is supported by WorldSkills UK, funded by the DfE which business and has pioneered radical hothousing methods to bring young apprentices to international standards.
Methodology and techniques from elite sports training have been honed to help produce the very best exponents of dozens of disciplines and trades.
At the last WorldSkills Finals in 2015, held in Sao Paulo, Team UK finished 7th above favourites France and Germany.
This year’s competition is seen as a litmus test for the nation’s ability to cope when the free movement of skilled labour is withdrawn in 2019.
Speaking at a ministerial send-off at the House of Commons, Dr Neil Bentley, CEO of WorldSkills UK said: “This is just like the Olympic Games, competing teams from numerous nations with gold silver and bronze medals up for grabs – and World class standards about to be set.
“Team UK achieved its best ever result in 2015 – and that level of performance is what we are aspiring to.
“The heat of competition will be as fierce as the heat of the desert – but we are ready.”
The Olympic style opening ceremony which was held on Saturday (October 14) night signalled the start of four days of competition with the results being announced on Thursday night (October 19).