Skills Minister John Hayes today gave his backing to a campaign to create a million opportunities for people across the UK to learn new skills in 2011.

WorldSkills London 2011 organisers are encouraging schools, colleges and businesses to organise ‘Have a Go’ events that demonstrate the range of skills training opportunities that are on offer to local people.

As part of the official countdown to the WorldSkills London 2011 Competition, the world’s largest skills competition, Have a Go is an unprecedented initiative that will allow people to gain hands-on experience in skills – from car maintenance to hairdressing to landscape gardening.

John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning will launch WorldSkills London 2011 Have a Go at an event at London’s City Hall. The Minister will launch the programme by trying his hand at mobile robotics in the form of giant, remote-controlled, ‘AirPenguins’ from automation technology company Festo, a WorldSkills London 2011 event sponsor.

Skills Minister, John Hayes, said: “Practical skills are as important as academic qualifications. Britain’s success will depend on our ability to create a new generation of world class craftsmen, designers and technicians. Have a Go is an excellent opportunity for people from all walks of life to be inspired by the possibilities of vocational education. I hope every local community hosts an event. The Government’s skills strategy, with more funding for apprenticeships and higher standards for training providers, will help individuals and companies gain the skills they need to succeed.”