Orlando originally took part in a regional heat of the SkillFRIDGE competition in Spring 2017, competing against other apprentices from the North East. Finishing top in the regional qualifiers, he qualified for the WorldSkills UK finals staged in November 2017 and was then selected for the Team UK squad in December 2017.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, the Team UK squad have undergone an intensive training/coaching programme with aim of gaining the skills, knowledge and confidence required to make the final Team UK selection. This has included benchmarking, core competency and milestone assessments; boot camps focusing on productivity training, performance coaching, performance psychology and well-being. Orlando has been supported throughout the process by training manager Mark Forsyth of Coriolis International.
Dan Blanchard, manager of the Workshop and now National Solutions Centre, said: “We are all extremely proud of Orlando’s achievements. It was clear from the initial weeks of working with him that he had natural talent, and this – combined with hard work – has enabled him to win at each stage of the competition, so that he is now representing the UK at WorldSkills 2019 in Russia.
“It is also a huge testament to the support given by all the team who helped to train Orlando and the other apprentices at Daikin UK, to help them fulfil their potential. Our scheme has already seen six engineers progress to full-time positions within our service department, with the next waves of apprentices receiving ongoing training. Our intention is to continue to grow the apprenticeship programme, to meet the ongoing and growing department for our service business.”
Daikin UK’s apprentice programme began in 2013 and offers three years of training in the workshop, spares, helpdesk and service departments, combined with study on block release at Grimsby College. Daikin now has 13 employees either still in their apprenticeships, or who have since progressed to full-time roles within the company.
You can follow the competition as it happens via www.skillfridge.co.uk or by following the @worldskillsuk twitter feed.