A budding landscape gardener from Ballymena will be digging deep to become the ‘best in the World’ – having been selected to represent Team UK at the WorldSkills Finals in Abu Dhabi.
Adam Ferguson, from Ballymena, and Will Burberry from Horley, Surrey, both aged 20, have been training round the clock since they struck gold at the EuroSkills Finals in Gothenburg last December.
The duo underwent an intensive final four-day selection process in Manchester last month - the very last hurdle they had to overcome to make Team UK.
Adam, who is a gardener at Hillsborough Castle, said: “It’s brilliant. No matter how we performed at this stage, we were so nervous. The way they announced it, I thought we hadn’t got through. But it’s a great feeling.
“WorldSkills UK gives you training and experience that money can’t buy. The character building and additional skills couldn’t be got any other way.”
Will said: “The fact that we are through gives us the best feeling ever. This challenge was a lot bigger and harder than the one at EuroSkills. We know the next tasks in Abu Dhabi will be a lot harder still.
They join the nation’s elite young skilled women and men have been selected to go for gold against the rest of the World.
Successful super-talented Team UK members have beaten off the challenge from thousands of fellow and former apprentices and students to represent the UK at the WorldSkills Finals in Abu Dhabi this October.
The two-year, or more, process has seen competitors win regional heats, a national final, European finals and last month jump the final hurdle reaching the most testing international standards at a team selection showdown.
Thirty-two talented skilled professionals will continue to undergo a rigorous regime of Olympic style training in preparation for the most intense week of competition imaginable. Skills represented, range from Aircraft Maintenance and Mechanical Engineering through to Restaurant Service and Cyber Security. WorldSkills UK, which helps young people ‘Go Further, Faster’, is spearheading the use of competition in the workplace, training centres, schools and colleges to inspire the next generation and fill the skills gap.
CEO Dr Neil Bentley said: “The WorldSkills Finals in Abu Dhabi are more important than international sporting fixtures spurring on competitors to achieve the highest international standards to inspire more and more young people to get into apprenticeships and technical careers, getting them off to the best start in work and life.”