Midhurst cabinet maker to attend ‘skills Olympics’

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A Midhurst cabinet maker has been chosen to represent Britain at the prestigious event known as the ‘skills Olympics’ later this year.

And Christopher Wallis, 20 has been congratulated at a reception hosted by the Duke of York to celebrate his inclusion in Team UK for WorldSkills London 2011.

Christopher, an apprentice who works for the Edward Barnsley Workshop, at Froxfield was chosen to represent the British team in the cabinet making category after taking part in a four-day selection competition in June.

WorldSkills London 2011, which takes place from October 5 to 8, will be the world’s largest international skills competition with young people from across the globe competing to be the ‘best of the best’.

At the competition, 1000 competitors from over 50 countries will compete in 46 skills ranging from robotics to graphic design and landscape gardening.

To prepare for the competition Christopher will spend from now until October in training for the event.

“It is a huge honour to have been selected to represent the UK at WorldSkills London 2011 and attend a reception at Buckingham Palace,” he said.

“I hope this opportunity will allow me to showcase how apprenticeships can lead to successful employment and career opportunities. I know the next few months will be tough as I will be in training for the event and I really hope the whole of the country gets behind the UK team like they do our sporting teams!”

Skills minister John Hayes said: “To represent your country at WorldSkills is a huge achievement, demonstrating hard work, creativity and talent. By helping put practical skills centre stage, every competitor is helping to raise the status of skills. To support young people who want to get on, and help businesses build the skills that fuel growth, the government is delivering the biggest and best apprenticeships programme we’ve ever seen.”

A former apprentice at the Edward Barnsley workshop, Gary Tuddenham, won the gold medal for cabinet making at the 2007 WorldSkills event in Japan.

Rodney McMahon, chairman of the Edward Barnsley Educational Trust, said: “The commitment and dedication which this level of skill requires is testimony to the individual’s own personal competence which nurtured within the Barnsley environment has created a centre of excellence which creates jobs and contributes to the British economy.

“Our graduates are always highly sought-after as are places on our apprenticeship scheme.”