Steven Burge, Eastleigh College Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprentice and one of 29 competitors handpicked to be part of Team UK, yesterday received a Medallion for Excellence at the WorldSkills 2013 final in Leipzig, Germany.
The event took place from 2 - 7 July and is the largest international skills competition in the world. The event is held every two years in cities around the globe and sees around 1,000 young people, aged 18 - 25, come together to compete for medals in more than 40 different skills including Electrical Installation, Welding, Bricklaying, Cooking and Landscape Gardening.
Steven battled it out against 23 other competitors in the 'Refrigeration and Air Conditioning' category and worked hard to achieve a score of over 500, for which he was awarded a highly sought, Medallion for Excellence. Team UK also produced impressive results, achieving 10th place out of the 47 counties competing, which was made up of two gold medals, one silver, three bronze and 17 Medallion's for Excellence.
After hearing the result, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "British ambition and ingenuity has once again taken on and beaten the best in the world and I extend my congratulations to Team UK. As we compete in the global race, this Government is on the side of ambitious young people who want to work hard and get on and we will continue in our efforts to build the biggest and best apprenticeship programme."
Steven had been identified by WorldSkills in summer 2012 as one of the nation's 100 most talented apprentices, employees and learners aged 18-25, being selected for advanced training in Squad UK. It was only in March 2013 that the squad members battled it out over four days of intense competition in Nottingham to secure individual places in Team UK, who then went on to represent the nation at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013.
Dr Jan Edrich, Director of Teaching and Learning at Eastleigh College noted "We are immensely proud of Steven's achievement and are thrilled to hear that he has been awarded a Medallion for Excellence. It is certainly a tough call to be best in the world; we felt that best in the UK was quite remarkable enough! We have heard that Steven is a little disappointed with the result, but he has shown great maturity and is looking forward to the future."
For more information about the Apprenticeships available at Eastleigh College, please visit www.eastleigh.ac.uk or call 023 8091 1299.
Watch Team UK as they attend the medals ceremony at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 by clicking here.
It's the final day of the competition and WorldSkills UK capture all of the joy, relief and emotion as Team UK reach the end of their quest. Watch it here.