Oban student heads to UK national skills competition

Donna Blainey from Oban has reached the WorldSkills UK LIVE national finals.

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Former Oban High School pupil Donna Blainey is representing City of Glasgow College in visual merchandising at this year’s WorldSkills UK LIVE national finals, which launches today (November 21).

The 20-year-old is doing an HND Display Design for Retail at the college and has undergone intensive training in preparation for the competition.

Donna, who also works part-time, is looking forward to competing. She said: ‘The WorldSkills UK LIVE competitions are beneficial for growing your skills in a specific field, mine being visual display. You learn organisational skills and time keeping and how to work under pressure.

‘Getting into the finals of this competition is amazing for your CV and opens up opportunities for the future. There is the chance of being head hunted by employers and you can join WorldSkills alumni to become a coach.’

Donna also has the potential to go on to the WorldSkills international competition in Shanghai in 2021, depending on how well she performs in the UK national finals this weekend.

She continued: ‘I’ve been training for three months, which has been hard on top of my college workload and deadlines. I also work at the weekends. But it’s been an incredible opportunity for me and I have learned so much.

‘I’m looking forward to this week’s competition, but am also slightly nervous as there will be thousands of people watching me build my display. When I finish college, I hope to work in a fast-paced creative environment and I know the skills competitions will give me an added advantage with employers.’

Margaret Darroch, head of Skills Academy and Development at City of Glasgow College, said: ‘Donna has achieved her place at the national finals through hard work, determination and high levels of resilience. The last few weeks of coaching and fine-tuning have helped boost her confidence and skills levels. It is now over to Donna to let her talent shine and we all wish her all the very best.’

WorldSkills UK LIVE is the country’s largest skills and careers event. At its core are the national finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions where young professionals compete against their peers for a chance to win medals in their skill and the possibility of representing the UK on the international stage.

The compeititon will run from today (November 21) to Saturday November 23. A total of 530 students and apprentices will compete during the three days of competition, across a range of disciplines.