Lancashire duo chosen for UK team in ‘Skills Olympics’

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A BAE Systems woman is one of two young professionals from Lancashire chosen to take part in this year’s “Skills Olympics”.

Abi Stansfield from Clitheroe and Kieran McShane from Burnley will be going up against rivals from more than 80 countries in an effort to be crowned the world’s best at the event in Shanghai, China in October.

Abi, 22, who works for BAE Systems will be competing in the CNC milling competition. While 20-year-old Kieran will be going for gold in the construction metalwork event.

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Having triumphed in regional competitions to be picked for the UK Team, they have been training for the ultimate prize since January 2020.

The finals of the Skills Olympics in 2019The finals of the Skills Olympics in 2019
The finals of the Skills Olympics in 2019
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Preparation for international competition is normally a two-year programme, but the global pandemic forced the Shanghai finals, originally scheduled for 2021, to be pushed back a year.

They are part of a 39-strong team hoping to help the UK climb back into the global top 10 after a 12th place finish at the 2019 event in Kazan, Russia.

Abi Stansfield said: “I was absolutely over the moon when I was told I had made Team UK. I can’t wait to get out to Shanghai and represent my country. All the training, hard work and effort has really paid off.”

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Kieran McShane said: “I am so happy to have made Team UK and so relieved all the hard work has paid off. However, the hard work all starts again now, but I am really looking forward to it. Shanghai is somewhere I never expected to go and I can’t wait to get out there.”

WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO Ben Blackledge said: “The event is a real opportunity to raise the profile and prestige of UK skills and is a life-changing opportunity for all involved. We are not only giving young people the opportunity to reach their full potential but we also believe that, working with them and their trainers, we can transfer the insights gained from competing against other countries to drive up standards at home and boost the economy.”