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Refrigeration engineering student has eye on Shanghai following selection for ‘Skills Olympics’ UK Squad

An Eastleigh College student is setting out on the road to Shanghai after being selected for Squad UK for an international WorldSkills Competition. 

Nineteen-year-old refrigeration and air conditioning engineer, Dominic Dray, was invited to join the prestigious WorldSkills UK Talent Development Programme after excelling in its national skills competitions, the finals of which were held last month at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC 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. 

Eastleigh College and Dominic’s employer, Royale Refrigeration, will support him as he undertakes an 18-month training programme with WorldSkills UK. He will face the ultimate selection test in Spring 2021 when the team that will compete at WorldSkills Shanghai will be named.

Dominic said: “I just thought the original competition would be something good to do, I really didn’t expect to come this far. The national final in Birmingham was pretty challenging so I was shocked when I got the call to say I’d been selected. I’m really pleased and am lucky to have a really supportive employer.”

The refrigeration and air conditioning faculty at Eastleigh College has an enviable reputation and attracts students, apprentices and part-time professional leaners from across the UK.

Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said: “Congratulations to Dominic - this is a life-changing moment for him.

“Dominic has already excelled in the WorldSkills UK regional and national competitions – and now he’ll be facing an even tougher test on the world stage. Everyone in Squad UK has already dedicated hundreds of hours gaining the 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.”

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.