Autobody Repairer Scoops Gold
Andrew Blair, 22, from County Antrim, has scooped the UK’s only gold medal at the 2005 WorldSkills Competition in Helsinki, Finland. He won the medal in Autobody Repair, competing against 14 other countries including Japan, Korea, France, Germany and the US. Mr Blair, who works for Mallusk Accident Repair Centre in Belfast, also achieved 7th place in the overall Competition (almost 700 competitors competed in total), which took place over four days at the end of May.
At the closing ceremony in Helsinki, Andrew Blair said:“I’m thrilled to have won gold. It was great to compete against other countries to see how I compared and I’m overwhelmed with the result. It’s been hard work but my training manager, Karl Vella and my training college (Blackwater House) have helped me all the way. The team at Mallusk Accident Repair Centre have also been a great support during my preparation. I’m very proud to have represented the UK at this competition.”
This follows UK Skills’ announcement that the UK has been placed 11th on average team score at the 2005 WorldSkills Competition, scooping one gold, two silver medals and seven Medallions of Excellence. For the first time, the UK team’s average score exceeded the 500-point World Class benchmark standard. The UK achieved a higher score than previous WorldSkills giants Japan, France, the USA and the host country Finland.
Phil Hope MP, the new Skills Minister, Chris Humphries, chairman of UK Skills and director-general of City & Guilds and Dr Graeme Hall, chief executive of UK Skills, which manages the UK team, attended the competition and congratulated the competitors on their achievement.
Chris Humphries said: “We congratulate Andrew on his outstanding success at WorldSkills. It is the largest skills competition in the world, with over 700 competitors from almost 40 member countries participating. To win gold shows that he is one of the world’s top technicians in his skill.”