Company News Quickgrind prepares apprentices for ‘Worldskills’ event

Editor: Steffen Donath

Worldskills is an event held every two years to showcase the talents of tomorrow’s engineers.

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The competitors are undertaking tasks that a lot of engineers would shy away from.
The competitors are undertaking tasks that a lot of engineers would shy away from.
(Source: World Skills UK)

Intending to improve the quality of apprenticeships and technical education for the benefit of all young people, employers and industry as a whole, Worldskills is an event held every two years to showcase the talents of tomorrow’s engineers. Founded back in 1946, the event now has huge momentum with more than 51 competitions being fought out by more than 1300 apprentices from over 80 countries.

Considered the ‘Skills Olympics’ for apprentices, the Worldskills UK Team has certainly won its share of success down the years. Mike Watson, the Training Manager for CNC Milling is an engineer at GKN Aerospace in Bristol and a previous UK winner and competitor at the Sao Paulo event in 2015 bringing home a medallion of excellence, the first for CNC Milling. Like any training or academic establishment, support from industry is essential. This is where the cutting tool support from Tewkesbury based Quickgrind has helped.

Currently undergoing the training cycle for the next competition in Shanghai in 2021, the two UK CNC Milling Squad finalists are Abigail Stansfield from BAE Systems and Joel Keen, an apprentice at Roke. The competitors' will face-off at a Team selection competition, which has currently been postponed due to Covid, to decide who will be selected for Shanghai 2021. In the run-up to the UK Team selection, the two competitors are going through a training cycle that sees the young learners undertake 5 to 6 hours of remote training via Google Classrooms or Zoom every week with one-week on-site training blocks every two months. This intensifies to one week per month in the run-up to a competition.

The ‘block’ training is undertaken at numerous educational establishments with Coleg Cambria in North Wales being the primary training hub. The Welsh training facility is used due to its suitable equipment that includes 2 DMG Mori CNC Milling machines, MasterCAM software and Mitutoyo measurement equipment - all sponsors of the global event whose equipment is specified for the competition.

Playing its part in supporting the engineers of tomorrow and flying the flag for UK manufacturing, Tewkesbury based Quickgrind has provided its expertise and cutting tools to help the apprentices. With only 20 tool positions that must include milling tools as well as drills and taps for both aluminium and steel, flexibility is of the essence. Taking into account the required tolerances and surface finishes, the cutting tools really have to step up to the task.

Working with Worldskills UK, Quickgrind’s International Technical Support Manager, Mr Mark Aspinall says: “The level these apprentices are at is truly impressive. We have worked with Worldskills UK and the competitors to trial several tools and to give the competitors a full understanding of the impact that different geometries, number of cutting edges and coatings can have on performance.”

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