Life-changing moment for a skilled elite Painting & Decorating student from Cornwall

A Painting & Decorating Apprentice from Truro and Penwith College is setting out on the road to Shanghai following his selection to Squad UK for the international WorldSkills Competition.

Thomas Nowell, aged 18 from Penzance, has been invited to join the prestigious WorldSkills UK Talent Development Programme after excelling in its national skills competitions, the finals of which were held in November 2019 at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC in Birmingham.

Both artistry and maths are necessary skills for the competition

Both artistry and maths are necessary skills for the competition

Thomas has been working up to the international WorldSkills competition since 2017 when he entered the Johnstone's Paints South West regional heats and won silver, which lead to a place in the Johnstone's Paints National Final at Coventry Ricoh Arena. This in turn led Thomas to the WorldSkills Regional heats where he won gold before heading to the WorldSkills UK Live National Final at the NED in Birmingham.

The WorldSkills Competition, which will next be held in Shanghai, China in 2021, takes place every two years and is known as the 'Skills Olympics'. The competition will feature over 1000 of the world's most talented apprentices and students competing in over 50 different skills as they battle it out to be named the World Champion in their chosen skill.

Thomas will be taking his skills to an international level at the WorldSkills Shanghai in 2021

Thomas will be taking his skills to an international level at the WorldSkills Shanghai in 2021

About Thomas and his fellow competitors, Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said: "Congratulations to Thomas."

"This is a life-changing moment for him, Thomas Nowell has already excelled in the WorldSkills UK regional and national competitions - and now they are facing an even tougher test as they look to secure their place to represent the UK on the world stage. They have already dedicated hundreds of hours improving their skills to get to this level - and have many months of hard work ahead of them with our training managers - enabling them to transform their careers and lives."

Thomas will undertake an 18-month training programme with WorldSkills UK, supported by Truro and Penwith College and will face the ultimate selection test in Spring 2021 when the team that will compete at WorldSkills Shanghai will be named.

At Truro and Penwith College we are immensely proud of Thomas and the hard work he has put into securing this opportunity.

Steve Piff, Head of Construction at Truro and Penwith College.

"He has shown that he has the commitment, natural aptitude and skills to compete at the highest level and excel. We wish him every success and will continue to support him with this endeavour." said Steve.

The previous WorldSkills Competition was held earlier this year in Kazan, Russia where Team UK was awarded 19 medals. By competing in the competition, WorldSkills UK is able to identify global best practice, research and insight that will help the new UK government to deliver world class standards in technical education.