HSDC South Downs Fitness staff members James Florance and Rob Cooper have been shortlisted this year in the WorldSkills Hero category at the TES FE Awards.

The award recognises those who go the extra mile to support competitors who participate in the regional, national and international skills competition.

Ash Grute, Assistant Principal Vocational Curriculum, explains the extra support James and Rob provide to students who take part in WorldSkills competitions to help them develop the necessary skills to succeed: “Their support starts at enrolment, where they use videos and testimonials from our students to promote the WorldSkills competition, inspiring our prospective learners. Once on the programme, they invite former WorldSkills finalists from HSDC to share their experiences.

“James and Rob take the whole cohort of first-year students to the finals each year to enable them to experience the atmosphere and motivate them to want to be involved in this fantastic event. They have created Google docs to support student assessment to WorldSkills standards and run College competitions. They invite industry experts to come and assess our students to help them develop and hone their skills. They also run coaching sessions outside of College to help prepare our learners.

“Any students selected for finals are then given significant extra time, outside of lessons, to support them in their preparation. Previously when our students have reached finals, the team gave up their time to accompany them, providing moral support, encouragement and helping them develop confidence in order to maximise their chances of success.

“The team have also attended our regional AoC Sport network meetings on many occasions to share their experiences, to promote the competition and try to inspire other colleges to become involved in this event so that more students can take part in this fantastic experience.”

The Awards evening, held virtually again this year because of the pandemic, will take place Friday evening 28 May. Congratulations to James and Rob on their shortlisting for this award – we will be rooting for them on the evening!