A space technology student from Romford is competing in the international 'Skills Olympics' against 1,400 competitors from 65 countries.

Simonas Brasas, 22, now studying at Surrey’s Kingston University, is one of just three elite London students in the Team UK squad of 31, all under 25, taking part in this September’s WorldSkills contest in Lyon.

He passed his engineering BTec at Barking and Dagenham College in 2021 and is now studying for a Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at Kingston to graduate next year.

“I’m a bit nervous,” he admits. “Lyon will be a massive arena with lots of teams competing and I’ll be in front of so many people — it is challenging and nerve-racking.”

He is competing in the Industry 4.0 contest in digitising manufacturing and credits his qualifying to the BTec course at Barking and Dagenham College.

“That really set me up,” he recalled. “The college had just opened its new Institute of Technology with labs that had the specialised and expensive Industry 4.0 equipment. Our teachers allow us to train on this equipment, despite not being part of our course at that point.

“That’s how I manage to pick up on this technology where not everyone has access, so it was a huge advantage.”

He is one of the Team UK squad competing in cyber security, renewable energy, digital construction, cooking, hairdressing and painting and decorating.

WorldSkills is used by governments, economists and business leaders around the world as a litmus test to measure future global economic growth.

The 2024 competition in Lyon is in 62 different skill disciplines, aimed at boosting the prestige of technical and vocational education by inspiring more young people to take up training to help boost world economies.

Around 250,000 visitors are expected from around the world, which aims to inspire schools and youth groups to be the next generation of skilled professionals.

Engineering students at Barking and Dagenham’s Rush Green campus study advanced technology in the purpose-built labs of its East London Institute of Technology, using the same equipment and machinery as modern manufacturing and industry.