One of a number of preliminary stage competitions in welding for the WorldSkills Ireland 2022 competition was recently held in Letterkenny.
Six applicants participated in the event from Donegal ETB (three from Ballybofey, Carndonagh and Donegal Town) and Waterford and Wexford ETB (three). They were nominated by their welding instructors from ETB Training Centres around the country and all are currently undertaking or have recently completed welding courses with their respective ETBs.
The event was hosted in Donegal ETB’s Letterkenny Training Centre and is one of a number preliminary competitions being held around the country in the coming weeks to provide the entrants with an opportunity to become a participant in the WorldSkills Ireland 2022 National Final in Dublin from 22-24 March 2022.
The winners of the national competition will go onto represent Ireland at the 2022 WorldSkills Competition which takes place later this year in Shanghai, China from 12-17 October.
This is the first time one of the national skills preliminary competitions for any skill area has been held in Donegal. It was made possible following the appointment of Donegal ETB’s senior welding instructor Cathal McGee as a WorldSkills Ireland Expert for the skill area of Welding in 2019. Cathal is the first ever welding staff member from any ETB in the country to be appointed to this position.
WorldSkills is the collective voice for skills excellence and development in vocational, technological, and service oriented careers around the globe. Every two years WorldSkills hosts the world championships of skills which attracts more than 1,600 competitors from over 60 countries. At this event, young people from all corners of the globe gather together for the chance to win a prestigious medal in their chosen skill. There are competitions in 56 skills across a wide range of industries — from joinery to floristry; hairdressing to electronics; and autobody repair to bakery. The competitors represent the best of their peers and are selected from skills competitions that are held in WorldSkills member countries and regions. Ireland’s National Skills Final takes place from 22-24 March.
Speaking about the preliminary competition, Cathal said, “The last WorldsSkills competition took place in 2019 in Kazan in Russia. At that competition the WorldSkills Ireland Welding competitor, Christopher Kehoe, who completed part of his competition preparation with me here in Letterkenny, went onto receive a Medallion of Excellence in his skill area for his efforts. The Shanghai competition was delayed by a year because of the global pandemic so I’m looking forward to the Irish preparations getting underway over the coming months and that really begins to ramp up now with the preliminary competitions taking place around the country in the coming weeks.”
Since 1950, WorldSkills has raised awareness among young people, as well as their parents, teachers and employers, that their future depends on an effective skills training system. The twenty largest economies in the world are Members of WorldSkills, as are the five most populous. In all, the membership represents two-thirds of the world’s population.
Speaking about Donegal ETB’s involvement in the WorldSkills competition, Cróna Gallagher, Donegal ETB’s Director of Further Education and Training (FET) said, “Welding comes under the Manufacturing and Engineering Technology category and the competition provides leaders in industry, government and education with the opportunity to exchange information and best practices regarding industry and professional education. Thanks to Cathal’s skills and knowledge, Donegal ETB is the leading provider of welding training in the Irish further education and training sector, having been the first in Ireland to introduce augmented reality welding a number of years ago and more recently we have introduced robotic welding into our training, along with our staff leading the way on the national and international skills stage.”
The winner of the National Skills competition in March will then begin their preparations for the WorldSkills Competition in October. This will involve ten weeks of intensive preparation training in Letterkenny with Cathal.
The WorldSkills Championship takes place from 12-17 October in Shanghai in China. More information is available at https://worldskills2022.com/en/index/. Further updates will also be found on Donegal ETB’s website (www.donegaletb.ie) and social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn).