“So many talented people, so many skills and so much excitement” – this is how Ruth Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at Derwen College described the International Abilympics after returning home as part of the UK delegation invited to the event.
The UK delegation, including three members from Derwen College in Shropshire, have recently returned from the International Abilympics held in Bordeaux, France which took place on 25th and 26th March. The aim of the event is to promote the Olympics of skills for disabled people at an international level. Held every four years, the concept for the event was developed in Japan back in 1972 with the first International Abilympics held in 1981.
Along with Ruth Thomas, attending as the Natspec (The Association of National Specialist Colleges) representative for the Association of Colleges (AoC) WorldSkills UK Portfolio Group, two other staff from Derwen College attended the event. They were Louise Keevil, Director Charity and Corporate Services who was head of the UK delegation and Emma Allen, Programme Manager – Retail & Business Studies who had been selected to be part of the Abilympics judging panel. The UK delegation also included two competitors – Ben Joyce and Simon John Davies – as well as two event judges – Emma Allen and Paul Evans from Coleg Sir Gar.
“It has been such a privilege to be part of the Abilympics Team UK. It was a truly brilliant experience and a pleasure to be part of Ben and Simon’s journey who competed at the event. This opportunity has provided life changing experiences for both Ben and Simon” said Ruth Thomas.
“The energy and positivity of all the delegation was fabulous to see and the amazing coaches Emma and Paul had memorable experiences. These positive experiences will not only enhance their own practice but also of those staff they work with” continued Ruth.
Derwen College are no strangers to skills competitions, having developed, in partnership with other colleges and WorldSkills UK, the Inclusive Skills Competitions held for the first time at the Skills Competition 2015. The college represents Inclusive Skills at a national level and has been the driver in developing this area of work.