Dundee and Angus College provide world class training

Last month the UK’s Thomas Novell, won a Medallion for Excellence in painting and decorating at the WorldSkills 2022 Competition in Bolzano, Italy.

On his journey to excellence Thomas spent 100 days at Dundee and Angus College where he received WorldSkills training in painting and decorating from D&A’s Michael Swan, who is the WorldSkills UK training manager and a WorldSkills Expert.

Michael added, “WorldSkills is a global movement of over 80 members, one of which is WorldSkills UK. It supports young people across the world and is centred around competition, with all participants receiving competition-based training which tests their ability to achieve world-class standards in the biennial ‘skills Olympics.’ To get to a world-class standard and be selected for the WorldSkills UK team is a four-year process which involves regional finals, national finals and WorldSkills UK Team elimination rounds.”

Thomas, who was a student at Truro and Penwith College, was put forward by his tutor to compete in the Skillbuild competition in Devon. After finishing first, he went on to the WorldSkills UK final in Birmingham where he won a silver medal and the opportunity to enter the WorldSkills training programme. Thomas and five other individuals came to Dundee and Angus College to receive expert painting and decorating training through the WorldSkills training programme. The six individuals went through intensive training in order to achieve a world standard. After 100 days of training, which also includes physical, mental, and elite performance training at Loughborough University with Olympic sports performance coaches, Thomas was the last candidate standing and this saw him selected to represent Team UK in painting and decorating at the WorldSkills Competition in Bolzano.

Speaking on his experience at D&A College Thomas said, “It was a great experience being there and everyone was so friendly. Without the training at the college it would not have been possible for me to compete at the WorldSkills finals. Michael Swan my training manager taught me so much, showing me the methods and techniques required to compete at world level. Michael also took me to compete in an International Pressure test in Abu Dhabi to prepare for WorldSkills. This boosted my competition experience and helped my competition craft.”

The pair then headed to Bolzano where Thomas competed against other nations and Michael carried out his WorldSkills expert duties in running, assessing, and judging the competition. Thomas competed in areas such as wallpapering, speed painting, decorative skills and spray painting. After four days of demanding competition, he finished in fourth place with the third highest score of 707 points and received a Medallion for Excellence. When asked about his experience in Bolzano, he shared, “Going to Bolzano for the world finals was a completely new experience and it was only my second time travelling abroad. I felt so proud to be representing my country, competing against the world’s best painters and decorators, and to come away with the medallion for excellence felt amazing.”

Michael who trained, coached and mentored Thomas at D&A’s Kingsway campus to reach a world standard said, “The success that Thomas has had is one anyone coming from college can have. He was just a normal student who has reached an elite level. By taking part in WorldSkills Thomas has been able to travel the world and visit new countries and experience very different cultures all because of the skills he has learnt at Dundee and Angus College.”

Thomas would like to start his own business in the future and hopes to keep involved with the WorldSkills programme helping students to have the same opportunities that he did. “I would encourage any student to get involved as it is a once in a lifetime experience.” WorldSkills UK have competitions in 63 areas from Floristry, to Heavy Vehicle Engineering and everything in between.

On Thursday 8th December, Thomas and Michael attended the WorldSkills UK Team homecoming reception with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to celebrate their and Team UK’s success at WorldSkills 2022 competitions. At this reception, Michael was presented with the Woodbine Parish award for outstanding contribution to the success of Worldskills UK.