Two apprentices could find themselves representing the UK in a national competition in Abu Dhabi after their success in the WorldSkills UK National Finals.

 Phil Whiteside and Sam Parkinson, who are both completing the HNC in Manufacturing Engineering at Nelson and Colne College won gold and silver respectively in the CNC Turning category. The Higher National Certificate is delivered in partnership with Training 2000, where Sam Parkinson is still undertaking his Advanced Apprenticeship.

CNC Turning is a branch of engineering, where engineers have to find mechanical solutions that can make complex designs possible. The contest involved two days of programming and manufacturing a complex component.

As a result of their achievements, Phillip and Sam are now eligible to be part of Squad UK and need to follow an intense training programme to meet the next standard. If successful, they will then be chosen to represent the UK in the World Skills competition in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Former Lostock Hall Academy student Phil, 17, from Preston, said: “I would love to make it to Abu Dhabi. It would be a massive personal achievement and would also help increase my job prospects.

“My goal at the beginning was to make it the final, so I was over the moon when I did so well.”

And Sam, 20, added: “Taking part in the competition has been a very good experience. It has been nerve-wracking, but I have learnt a lot from it, met some good people, and I can also add my achievements to my CV.

“I feel happy and proud to have come second in such a tough competition.”

Both apprentices were nominated by the companies they are working for.

Alan Emerton, Apprentice Training Manager at Fort Vale Engineering, where Sam is an apprentice, said: “We are extremely proud and pleased that Sam was successful in winning the Silver medal.

“It not only endorses the excellent apprenticeship programme we have here at Fort Vale but also the extremely high standard of further and higher technical education within the local colleges.

“Of course it isn’t all about the winning.  The personal development that both Sam and Phil will have gained from the whole experience is priceless. Well done to both and good luck for the next stages.”

WorldSkills UK National Finals took place at The Skills Show at the NEC Birmingham – with more than 60 contests taking place across five skills areas.

Dr Neil Bentley, CEO, Find a Future, which manages the UK’s entry into the WorldSkills Competition said:  “I offer my huge congratulations to Phil and Sam for securing a place in Squad UK. By competing in the WorldSkills Competition, the UK is able to share best practise in apprenticeships, further education and skills with countries around the world, raising standards on a global scale.

“Additionally, by using the knowledge gained from competing at WorldSkills, we know we are working to international benchmarks that will ultimately equip more young people to help UK business better compete globally.”

The HNC in Manufacturing Engineering, which both Phillip and Sam are completing, is a higher level programme aimed at developing greater understanding and technical capability of Engineering processes. For more information on the programme visit or contact 01282 440272.