Worldskills Ambassador Profile: Joe Wilde
RNN Group’s (Rotherham College, North Notts College, Dearne Valley College) vision to lead innovation and skills in our local communities is one of the key drivers in partnering with WorldSkills UK, in their Centre of Excellence Programme.
Through their work, WorldSkills UK collaborates with educational institutions, governments, and employers to raise standards in technical education across the UK.
In a previous WorldSkills Ambassador Profile, we interviewed Katie Asgari, one of the five WorldSkills Ambassadors and a Hair and Media Make-up tutor at Rotherham College. In our second profile, we put Construction and Bricklaying tutor Joe Wilde in the hot seat, as he answered our questions on what his first year as a WorldSkills Ambassador has been like.
Tell us about your experiences as an Ambassador
Being an Ambassador for WorldSkills has been brilliant. It’s been hard work, but absolutely brilliant. I have thoroughly enjoyed working to improve the students’ confidence.
Our role, as I see it, is to first and foremost make the students aware of what the standards are – what is expected of them. Thereafter, we start to look at raising those standards. We have to get our learners to understand what is expected in terms of the basic competence they will need in the workplace.
Through the WorldSkills programme, we then work with the students to help them develop that competence within their trade, to excellence. It is our belief, as Ambassadors, that through implementing the WorldSkills programmes into the curriculum, the students’ experience at College and at any potential competitions, is going to greatly improve.
How have you implemented the WorldSkills principles at College?
As Ambassadors, we were taught key principles which are designed to help the students achieve. The first thing we look at with the students is how they will be assessed. By analysing the requirements which they will be judged on, the students can adapt their skills to fit the task at hand and know what is expected of them.
We then allow the students to test their skills in both competitive and non-competitive environments, through pressure tests. Following this, we look at how each individual learner has fared in terms of the requirements and look to see how they can raise their skill level. By implementing this progression route exercise, the student continuously tracks their level of achievement.
As well as preparing and continuously working with the students, a key part of the WorldSkills programme has been about implementing an environment which can replicate the workplace.
Through implementing WorldSkills principles we teach the students to use their time efficiently. This takes shape, through simple things like preparing a workstation before undertaking a project or gathering materials needed for a project. Things that may seem simple, but if they are done in the right way, it can improve time efficiency, and make the students invaluable to their future workplaces.
How have you developed as a tutor since becoming an Ambassador?
I feel like I have developed greatly as a tutor. Through working with Frazer Minskip, our WorldSkills coach, I have employed a student-led learning method. In this, we look to utilise the students who are excelling via peer support. By doing this, the learner who is already stretching themselves will improve more and the excellent learner will, in turn, develop further skills.
I also feel that I have developed a lot as a craftsman in my trade. One of my biggest takeaways was learning about the LEAN principle, and how to manage time more effectively. A lot of the ways that both myself and other teaching staff work can be optimised and organised to a greater extent. We can squeeze so much more learning into our sessions.
How will students benefit from the Colleges’ work with WorldSkills?
I want to see students become more confident in themselves and take on tasks. A major part of the students building their confidence is through working with us educators to see where they can develop further, and then track that development. So, I am looking forward to seeing the students work actively with their improvement points.
I am also looking forward to working with staff members to implement Pressure Testing and the LEAN philosophy amongst the teachers, to help create an environment which will help the students thrive.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a WorldSkills Ambassador?
The achievement of the learners and identifying where the learners have gone wrong. Seeing students learn from both their successes and failures is inspiring. The learners have also gained the confidence to teach each other. Seeing them learn together is brilliant.
Finally, I’d just like to say that the whole experience has been so rewarding. Tough at times, but very rewarding. We couldn’t have asked for a better mentor in Frazer Minskip and I hope to take a little bit of his ways of teaching into the classroom and workshops.