Students with learning difficulties and disabilities showed off their employability skills at the Inclusive Skills competition finals.
Thirty-nine students from 20 colleges took part in the competition staged at the NEC in Birmingham as part of The Skills Show.
The categories included ICT, woodworking, hairdressing, fitness training, catering and health and life sciences.
Inclusive Skills is organised by Natspec, the membership association for organisations which offer specialist post-16 education and training for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
“We know that the employment rate for people with learning disabilities is less than six per cent. At Natspec we are focussing on Inclusive Skills because it is one way of showcasing all the skills and employability that these young people have,” said Clare Howard, Chief Executive of Natspec.
Hosted at the Skills Show for the first time in 2015, Inclusive Skills Competitions stretch and challenge young people, improve their self- esteem and confidence, help showcase their work skills, and show employers how they can perform under pressure to industry-standard competition criteria.
Callum Klapatyi, from Hereward College in Coventry, won gold in the ICT category. He admitted that the competition was nerve-wracking but worth it.
“It’s made me feel very proud to be here and to be representing my college, but I have also been very nervous because I am representing my college,” he said.
Haydn Thompson, a Pathway leader from Hereward College said: “When you say competition people think win or lose whereas the Inclusive Skills competition is all about taking part. It’s giving them the experience of competition but with the safety and reassurance that if they don’t place first it is still a massive achievement.”
Among the guests at the event was Benoit Roger, International & Event Manager, Abilympics France.
“It’s fantastic that Natspec is showcasing professional skills,” he said. “It is the best approach for helping young people get into normal work.”
The full list of competition results can be found here.