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New CEO of WorldSkills UK announced



WorldSkills UK has announced the appointment of Ben Blackledge as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).


Ben Blackledge, who was previously interim CEO at WorldSkills UK, will take full responsibility for the leadership and development of the charity immediately.

WorldSkills UK is a four nations partnership between employers, education and governments. It raises standards in apprenticeships and technical education through international benchmarking and professional development, champions future skills and empowers young people, from all backgrounds, through competition-based training and careers advocacy. It is the government’s representative at WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills International.

The board of trustees of WorldSkills UK made the appointment following an open and competitive recruitment process which was managed by executive recruitment agency Starfish Search.

Blackledge brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked across of range of policy positions in the UK government before joining WorldSkills UK in 2014 and becoming Deputy CEO in 2019. Blackledge was elected to the board of WorldSkills Europe in 2021 and also sits on the WorldSkills International Competition Working Group, ensuring the UK is at the forefront of global developments in skills training. He is also an independent member of the UK’s Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (IFATE’s) Assessment panel.

Chair of the WorldSkills UK Board, Marion Plant OBE, FCGI said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ben to the role of Chief Executive at WorldSkills UK. Ben has demonstrated his excellent leadership skills, vision and drive for WorldSkills UK and has impressed the Board with the impact he has made over the last few months. We look forward to working with him and supporting him as he leads the organisation, ensuring it continues to deliver for education, business and young people.”

Ben Blackledge, Chief Executive Officer, WorldSkills UK said: “I’m delighted to take on the role of CEO at WorldSkills UK. I believe deeply in the work we do and the impact and potential of the sector we support, so it is an absolute pleasure to be able to lead the organisation into what is an exciting future. We will continue to focus on driving the development of high-quality technical and professional skills to an international standard to help meet the needs of business, to attract investment, and to create more life changing opportunities for young people.

“I am looking forward to working with the board, our staff and our partners across the UK to build on the innovation of the last few years and to continue to champion the UK skills sector,” added Blackledge.

Learn more about WorldSkills UK at