Young council staff triumph in talent test

Wigan Council's got young talent - Nathan, Claire, Bob and Heather at the competition

Wigan Council's got young talent - Nathan, Claire, Bob and Heather at the competition

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WIGAN Council won silver in a national competition that ranked it one of the best for spotting fledgling talent.

Despite it being the first time Wigan Council had entered Young Local Authority of the Year, it proved it had ability in abundance and put forward four rising stars.

Employees Bob Allen and Claire Whittle, and Heather Ratcliffe and Nathan Gaskell were paired up and tasked to write a paper on a controversial and topical issue.

The Lancaster House Hotel in Lancaster hosted the two-day competition which saw contestants present argument papers the face an unaided on-the-spot challenge from a judging panel. And it was the Wigan Team One of Bob and Claire which secured silver.

Council chief executive Donna Hall said: “It’s the first year we have ever entered a competition like this and I’m thrilled a Wigan team came runner-up! We really support young people at the council to develop and achieve their potential and this national competition was a great platform to showcase our young talent.”

The pair raised the thorny issue of Brits’ not learning enough foreign languages and its future impact on the UK’s ability to stay competitive in a global market. Audience members were stunned and delighted when graduate trainee Bob broke out in fluent French mid-spiel.

The Winstanley 23-year-old said: “I was very proud to be given the chance to represent my hometown nationally and that two Wiganers took home second place. I’ve never been the most confident public speaker and the competition really got me out of my comfort zone.”

Claire, also 23 and of Kitt Green, added: “Bob and I threw ourselves into the challenge and worked extremely hard to prepare.”