Middlesex University Duo to Fly Skills Olympics Flag for Great Britain

education news middx1

As the sun continues to beat down and UK students continue to enjoy the indian summer, Young Acacemic is again on hand with some top education news.  Two Middlesex University designers will next week represent the UK and take on the world’s most highly skilled students, apprentices and employees at WorldSkills London 2011.  The tournament is the world’s largest international skills competition for young people.

Puja Varsani, from Rayners Lane, and Darren Lewis, from Lewisham, both Product Design and Robotics students at Middlesex University, will represent the country in the Mobile Robotics category at the skills competition, taking place at London’s ExCeL centre from 5-8 October 2011.

The event will see 1,000 young people from 52 countries compete to be crowned the best at their skills, under the watchful eye of around 150,000 spectators.

The pair have undergone an intense training programme since November 2010 with each completing on average 100 days of training and assessment.  Both have recently been putting in 11 hour days as they worked hard on completing a robot which they will use in the competition next week. At the event they will need to programme it to complete a number of tasks including a postal task where the robot will have to collect and deliver items to a correct postal area on a mini London landscape.

The four days of competition will see young people compete in 45 different skills ranging from web design to engineering.  Teams from countries as far afield as Argentina to Australia will descend on the ExCel London which has more than 90,000m2 of space, the size of 10 Wembley Stadium football pitches.

Puja has also shot to stardom after featuring in a WorldSkills advertising campaign, which has seen adverts of her appear in more than 100 tube stations, posters around Newham, east London and newspapers.

Middlesex University student Puja Varsani (22) said: “It’s been strange seeing posters of me around London and the attention it’s been getting.  But, it’s been a great experience so far and the adverts are a good build up to the competition and hopefully will get the country behind Team UK.”

The duo will join the rest of Team UK later today (30) on a boat trip along the Thames towards ExCel London where they will listen to a pep talk from Olympic 100 meter relay gold medallist Jason Gardener MBE.  He’ll discuss his tips of performing under pressure in front of a global audience.

Middlesex University student Darren Lewis (22), from Lewisham, said: “I can’t believe the competition is nearly here as we’ve been training really hard for a long time now.  I’ve had to manage my time carefully as I’ve been fitting in training while completing my final year at University.  However, the event next week will not only allow me to demonstrate the skills I’ve learnt, but also provide me with a platform for my final year robotics project that will be exhibited at the show.”

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In June 2009 and 2010 Darren and Puja won the gold medal in the UK Skills finals before winning bronze medals at EuroSkills held in December 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Middlesex University will also be hosting a ‘Have a Go’ area at the competition as part of a campaign to create one million opportunities for people across the UK to ‘Have a Go’ at a new skill.  Individuals will be able to try their hand at programming a simple robot at the Middlesex stand.

To keep up to date with the any of the student news articles here at Young Academic as well as all the latest education news and competitions, make sure you are following the Young Academic Twitter and Facebook pages.

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