Back to all articles


Students Excel at UK’s Largest Skills Competition

Written on 24th April 2024

This year our Greater Manchester Skills Competitions were back with a bang! We had more students competing than ever before, with 936 learners excelling across a range of exciting subjects.

As one of the largest competitions across the UK, our event is run by a dedicated group of champions from each of our nine General Further Education Colleges. This year the hard work paid off, as we saw a 17% increase in the number of students taking part compared to last year. 

Many of the students who competed have now been entered for the WorldSkills competitions, with 1253 students being entered across our nine colleges. The North West region took the lead, with 2233 registrations for the WorldSkills competition – three times higher than Wales who were in second position with 741 learners. For the second year in a row, Greater Manchester has once again been selected as the host region for the highly anticipated WorldSkills UK National Finals, which will take place in November across a variety of venues including our colleges.

Our Annual Skills Competitions which take place across March, provide learners across our nine General Further Education Colleges the opportunity to showcase their vast array of technical skills. 

The events focused on 11 specialisms and were held across our nine college campuses: Digital, Creative & Media, Hair & Beauty, Engineering, MV & Science, Construction, Music & Performing Arts, Art & Design, Enterprise, Travel & Tourism, Health Social Care & Early Years, Hospitality & Catering, Foundation Learning and Sport & Public Services.

The competition aims to raise the profile of technical skills in Greater Manchester and offers students, trainees and apprentices a chance to challenge, benchmark and showcase their skills. 

Students are able to develop a range of soft skills during the competitions such as resilience and team building as well as the practical skills that they have developed during their time at college.

Anna Dawe, GMColleges Chair, explains, “The competition provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and showcase technical education across our communities. High quality technical skills support career pathways that will impact positively not only on the individual students but on the future workforce of businesses and the economy of Greater Manchester as a whole.” 

Sharon Weetman, Principal Manager at Greater Manchester Combined Authority commented, “Part of our ambition for Greater Manchester is to become an integrated technical education city region. We also want to showcase the fabulous skills and talent that the young people taking these routes have in Greater Manchester and the competitions are an absolutely amazing way to showcase that.” 

Trafford & Stockport College Group Skills Specialist, Joan Scott said, “The GMColleges have exceeded all expectations this year, to have almost 1000 involved in our local inter-college competitions was wonderful, this year we introduced a Foundation Skills competition, the learners loved competing,  the atmosphere was fantastic!  We hoped to have 1000 learners register for the WorldSkills competitions, to achieve 1253 was amazing,  there’s so much talent across our GMColleges.”