The voice of specialist further education

Inclusive Skills Competitions

An opportunity for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties to showcase their skills

Research has shown that learner experience is improved with competitive activity. It allows students the opportunity to move outside their comfort zone by stretching and challenging what they know.

Natspec promotes competitions as an effective tool to:

  • measure, develop and recognise achievement and excellence
  • show off work skills
  • inspire growing independence.

If you want to know more, Natspec has partnered with ETF to produce a toolkit on how to use competition activity in the vocational curriculum for learners with SEND. An in-house training course is also available for college staff who wish to introduce competition as a tool in their vocational curriculum.

Inclusive Skills Competitions: the background

Skills competitions are well established in mainstream Further Education. A few years ago, Natspec, Derwen College and (what was then) North Warwickshire and Hinkley College recognised there was no opportunity for people with learning difficulties and disabilities to participate in these competitions.

Working together they established a series of competitions: the Inclusive Skills competitions. The competitions stretched and challenged participating students. Links were built between colleges, training providers, and local and national businesses. Most importantly, it provided an opportunity to showcase the skills of young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Natspec and World Skills UK agreed a three year transition plan between 2015 and 2018. As a result, Inclusive Skills is now fully integrated into the national WorldSkills UK competition programme.

Full integration with WSUK national programme

The competitions are now open to young people who are working up to level 1 and are in or have recently been in education. WorldSkills UK now lead the competitions. Competition Organising partners deliver the competitions for each vocational area.

“Working in partnership with Natspec is part of our commitment to ensure that as many learners as possible have access to competition activity,” says Dr Neil Bentley, from WorldSkills UK.

“We look forward to welcoming many more learners from the specialist and FE colleges, who have taken part in this activity, at this year’s The Skills Show.”

Callum, a student at Hereward College, said “The competition was nerve-wracking but worth it. It’s made me feel very proud to be here and to be representing my college.”


More information about Inclusive Skills Competitions

Inclusive Skills Competitions are an exciting and fun way to show off the skills you have learnt at college.

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