From education to employment

SWC emerges triumphant in WorldSkills UK National Finals

South West College vocational skills students have once again proved their skills and expertise at this year’s WorldSkills UK National Finals and brought home an impressive haul of medals, including one silver, two bronze, and a highly commended.

Amongst the standout performers at the live event held in Greater Manchester from 14th to 17th November, was Ryan Cullen, a local Dungannon Light Vehicle Technology apprentice employed by AL Services, who secured a well-deserved silver medal in Automotive Technology.

Karol Czapek, currently pursuing a BEng (Hons) in Engineering and employed with CDE Cookstown, and Jack Campbell, a Higher-Level Apprentice (HLA) studying a BEng (Hons) in Engineering and employed at Warrenpoint Board, both earned bronze medals for their outstanding performance in Automation.

Additionally, David Bateman Smith, an Enniskillen Technology and Skills Centre Plumbing apprentice employed by Ashley Farland, received a highly commended medal for his exceptional skills in Plumbing.

The annual event is the UK’s largest gathering of elite apprentices and students, with over 440 participants showcasing their skills in more than 50 disciplines, spanning from plumbing and catering to beauty therapy and digital construction. Serving as a platform for the UK’s finest performers to showcase their abilities and compete against their peers, with the opportunity to win top medals in their respective fields and the opportunity to represent the UK internationally.

Christopher Robinson, Head of Work Based Learning at SWC, said:

“SWC is extremely proud to have had eight vocational students chosen to compete in the World Skills UK finals, with seven of them travelling and competing in various disciplines. Their unwavering dedication and remarkable talent in their chosen courses truly exemplify the exceptional skills possessed by further education students at the College.

“Participating in these competitions not only showcases our students’ talents on a UK-wide platform but also provides them with an incredible opportunity to acquire new and innovative methods of learning. This experience boosts their confidence and opens doors to numerous opportunities, whether they choose to pursue higher education or enter the workforce.

“I commend each and every participant and want to express my admiration for the exceptional skills and dedication exhibited by our apprentices and students. Their success is also a reflection of the unyielding support from our staff, their employers, and the invaluable contributions made by their family members. This remarkable achievement truly belongs to everyone involved, and I am thrilled to witness such a collaborative triumph. Congratulations to all!”

Higher Level Apprenticeship Programme Manager, Noreen McGirr, also congratulated each of the students and said:

“It is fantastic to see so many of our students excelling at this level. The apprenticeship and HLA Provision at our College where academic study and on the job, training occur in unison has enabled the apprentices to grow and progress at an exceptional pace.

“Their remarkable performance at the recent National Competitions is a true testament to their dedication and the clear advantages of the training delivered by both the College and their employer.

“At South West College, we acknowledge that these competitions not only showcase their talents but also foster vital qualities such as resilience, self-confidence, and effective communication. These qualities are not only crucial to their academic pursuits but also indispensable for their future careers. We wish them every success as they now take the next steps in the WorldSkills competitions and may have the opportunity to join Team UK and compete at an international level.”

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