New College Lanarkshire has been named best in the UK for skills provision after coming out on top at the national ‘skills olympics’, WorldSkills UK.
Students from across the College’s Motherwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld campuses won 17 accolades in total – including four gold, four silver, six bronze and three highly commended awards.
The medal haul meant the College topped the leader board – the fourth time it has been named number one performing institution in the competition since 2013.
Over 500 of the UK’s top apprentices and learners took part in the national finals at WorldSkills UK LIVE, a three-day skills exhibition held in the NEC Birmingham, welcoming over 80,000 young people and dozens of leading employers from across the UK.
New College Lanarkshire students swept the board in the Mechanical Engineering: CAD competition, with Jedrzej Matwiejczuk claiming the gold medal, while Lewis Batchelor achieved silver and Neil Donnelly secured the bronze.
In IT Software Solutions for Business, Lewis Brisco won gold, while classmate Zoe Lazenby-Carroll received the highly commended award in the same competition.
In Building Information Modelling, the gold medal was claimed by Sophie Orr, while Darren Houston won Bronze and Patrycja Wisniewski achieved the highly commended award.
The final gold award of the evening was awarded to Lewis Dymock in the Laboratory Technician competition, which ran for the first time this year.
The medal haul continued with Philip Kennedy receiving the silver in the IT Support Technician category while Fraser Cameron achieved silver in the Network Infrastructure Technician category.
All four make-up students who competed achieved awards – Silver for Kane Hayes and Bronze for Abigail Dickson in Commercial Make-up, while Samuel Mamonne received a bronze for Creative Media Make-up while Sara Adamson claimed the Highly Commended award in the same category.
An apprentice at the College, Darren Kerr, won a bronze in Electrical Installation for his employer, SECCT, while the final award was for Marcus Warrington, who gained third place in the Electronic Security Skills demo competition.
The medals were handed out at a glittering awards ceremony in Birmingham NEC following an intense three days of competitions from 21-23 November.
25 students from New College Lanarkshire competed in the event after securing their place at the WorldSkills UK Finals through excelling in the National Qualifiers which took place in the summer.
They competed across 12 different categories – Building Information Modelling; Construction Metalwork; Electrical Installation; Electronic Security Systems; Laboratory Technician; Mechanical Engineering: CAD; IT Software Solutions for Business; IT Support Technician; Network Infrastructure Technician; Network Systems Administrator; Commercial Make-up; Creative Media Make-up.
Professor Christopher Moore, Principal and CEO of New College Lanarkshire, said: “Congratulations to those staff and students who worked so hard to achieve first place at WorldSkills UK. It is a fantastic accolade and is indicative of the breadth and depth of talent at New College Lanarkshire and of the supportive and nurturing approach adopted by our staff.
“Thanks to all the staff who made it possible, the students who trained tirelessly to reach their full potential and to all the supporters who have cheered them on along the way.”
Competition judging panels also included a number of New College Lanarkshire staff experts. Head of Faculty for Engineering and Automotive, Barry Skea, overseen the Mechanical Engineering: CAD competition alongside lecturer Lisa Nicholson and former student and WorldSkills champion, Ross Megahy, who represented the College at the international finals in Kazan last year. Three current students joined Ross in running the Have a Go area, encouraging visitors to find out more about the subject.
Lecturer Jenny MacAulay and Curriculum & Quality Leader Brendan Burns guided the IT Software Solutions for Business competition, while Lecturer Robert Balfour oversaw the Network Infrastructure Technician competition.
Derek Steven, Curriculum and Quality Leader for Science, was also a judge in the Laboratory Technician competition, while Lecturer Michael McGuire, who has recently been named as a WorldSkills training manager, ran the BIM competition.
Matthew Smith, Head of Faculty for Computing and Creative Industries and WorldSkills lead for the College, said: “Being named number one in the UK for skills once again is a testament to the calibre of students we have at New College Lanarkshire who take every opportunity thrown at them and ensure they succeed.
“Their success is also down to the hard work and dedication of staff who work tirelessly to ensure our students are working to the highest standard and are confident in their own abilities.
“The opportunities WorldSkills competitions can bring are endless and I am so proud of all 25 students who competed and stepped out their comfort zones and trained hard to be up there with the best.
“Thank you to the staff who spent countless hours training and mentoring as well as all the staff members who made the trip to Birmingham to show their support – it certainly paid off.”
Designed by industry experts, the WorldSkills UK Competitions equip apprentices and learners with the world-class skills needed to help UK businesses better compete globally.
Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK, said: “Congratulations to New College Lanarkshire for such a fantastic achievement.
“The competition was fierce and the standards very high. All of the hard work and dedication of New College Lanarkshire students and staff has been rewarded and we at WorldSkills UK salute you.”
Award winners will now be considered to join the training programme for WorldSkills Shanghai 2021. The squad will be announced on 2 December.
For more information about WorldSkills UK, visit: www.worldskills.org
To see more pictures from the event, visit the @NCLanarkshire Facebook page.