Sensational Skills-Building

 Four gold medals, but everyone’s a winner!

We are still on a high from Skills Week! It surpassed all our expectations, with even the most hard-to-reach learners progressing tremendously over the training period. Each of the four competitions offered an incredibly well thought-out programme of activities, keeping learners engaged and moving forward as the days progressed. We cannot praise our team highly enough for the effort and organisation they put into this event.

Inclusive Animal Care Competition

Tommy, Jacob, James, Shane and Matthew enjoyed their week on the smallholding, caring for our rabbits - Coco, Hoppy and Lottie. The idea around the competition was to encourage learners to feel more comfortable interacting with the rabbits when handling and carrying out health checks.

It was great to see all their smiles when participating in each activity.

“I like Coco, but she’s a little rascal!” 
James, Learner

“Put Coco back, I’d like Hoppy please - she’s the best!”
Matt, Learner

“I would love to see inclusive animal care grow as a competition theme. There are lots of opportunities to expand what we could do to incorporating cleaning, mucking out, feeding the animals, checking instructions. The list is endless.” 
Gareth, Tutor

A montage of 2 images. A group with awards, a man and a young man with a rabbit, a young man with a rabbit
The whole group on the stage, a couple of rabbit checks in action!

Inclusive First Aid Competition

Several learners now have some basic first aid skills that may prove very useful over time. Staff members spent the week being bandaged and looked after, as role play was a crucial part of the training.

“The effort and dedication they all showed towards the learning and application of skills was tremendous.” 
Charlotte, Tutor

We saw patient empathy, and eagerness to bandage casualties as soon as possible, for them not to be in pain! Despite the many changes and challenges, lots of learners were able to remained unfazed. With efficient time and repetition of tasks we also saw incredible independence demonstrated.

“I benefited from refreshing my first aid skills and I really enjoyed doing first aid and showcasing the skills I had.” 
Rhys, Learner

“If someone needs first aid, I can do it!” 
Laurina, Learner

“I am confident doing this, I can bandage anyone's arm.” 
Ellie, Learner

“All the learners were amazing, so confident and focused. So proud and supportive of each other for their achievements. I was blown away as I’d not been to a skills competition before and it was fantastic. Laurina told me she was proud of herself. Richard was jumping with excitement, Ellie said she loved it.  Rhys was very happy to win, Megan was a star and Millie smashed it. All winners in my eyes.” 
Stacey, Learning Support Worker

“As I watched the First Aid Competition being judged I actually had goosebumps. The learner I watched can often struggle to take part but she was absolutely amazing. She had learnt so much in such a short space of time, It brought a tear to my eye.” 
Jeremy Moore, Judge

A group of young people and an older man with certificates. Two young people bandage a member of staff.
The first aid winners and some top class care by Richie and Ellie

Inclusive Snip & Stitch Competition

The dexterity and enthusiasm of the competitors was visible on day one as they started threading their needles and getting to grips with scissor skills. We know where to go next time someone loses a button!

“Zak was Mr Independent throughout the competition, his sewing skills excelled over the week. It was great to see learners develop essential life skills in various areas and experience a sense of accomplishment.” 
Daisy-Jane, Tutor

"Wow look at how many hearts I’ve sewn!” 
Ethan, Learner

A group of learners in red t-shirts get certificates, a young man excitedly holds a certificate, a young man cuts out a heart.
The snip and stitchers celebrate, Gruff is happy and hearts are cut from fabric.

Inclusive Stool Weaving Competition

Stool weaving was carried out at multiple different levels. Some people focused purely on the top of the stool, whereas others also had a go at making the stool frame. Tutors from woodwork and weavery collaborated to support learners over the week.

“It was nice to see that everyone got to try new skills and the whole week was inclusive to all.”
Angharad, Tutor

A group of young people get certificates, a boy makes a stool.
The stool makers on the stage, stool-making in action!

We didn’t know exactly how learners would respond to Skills Week but we felt confident that the competing element would bring something unique to the learning experience, which it certainly did. It is a stereotype that competitions are too complex for people with additional learning needs. By adapting completion briefs we successfully mitigated elements that our learners find tough.

We will be running Skills Weeks again in the future, and feel excited about the new opportunities this presents for our learners. If you’d like to find out more about how we organised our Skills Week, please do get in touch with Sue Hope-Bell, who is our Skills Ambassador.


I just want to say a massive thank you to you and all the staff at Elidyr Communities Trust. We all had a fantastic welcome and were blown away with the competitions, learners and all the amazing staff. I think we have seen and taken a lot away from the week as a whole, and it was fantastic to get the chance to be there and see it.


Rhys Harries, Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales