From education to employment


Students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) have been celebrating after they collected ten medals at the national WorldSkills UK finals putting the college at the top of the table for foundation skills in the UK. The medal-winning competitors discovered that they had won four Gold, five Silver and one Bronze medal as the results were announced live by Steph McGovern from her Channel 4 ‘Packed Lunch’ studio.

Gold medal winners in the foundation skills categories included hairdressing student Hemali Bordekar, who earned the top spot for her stunning festival hairstyle creation. Hemali is a self-employed hairdresser who is adding qualifications to her portfolio at the college’s Wigston Campus. Also collecting a Gold medal was motor vehicle student Alex Dinca who joined the college from Nuneaton Academy, part of the Midland Academies Trust, to follow his enthusiasm for mechanics. In the catering category, Harry Forbes was awarded Gold for his skills in creating a menu of delicious street food, and Sam Hurst picked up the Gold medal for his highly imaginative Harry Potter-themed table setting.  

Silver medallists included Evan Ashburner, who joined the college from the Midland Academies Trust’s Hartshill Academy in Nuneaton. Evan won his medal after excelling in the motor vehicle skills challenge. Media students YouTuber Corey Hargrave and comic book enthusiast Evie Smith jointly won Silver medals in the creative media category. Lucy Gill was the joint winner of the Silver medal in the catering skills category. In addition, apprentice Hattie Parnham who works for Ashby Decorator Centre Ltd, collected the Silver medal for painting and decorating in the Construction and Infrastructure skills category. Briony Hancox, who wants to work as a florist when she completes her college qualifications, won a Bronze medal for horticulture skills.

In total, eleven students from NWSLC travelled to Edinburgh College and Cardiff & Vale College to compete with 500 of their peers from all over the UK who tested their skills in over 60 competitions for the chance to win Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC, who is also interim chair of WorldSkills, said, “This is a fantastic result for our students, and we are delighted to have excelled in the foundation skills categories in particular as these were first conceived by NWSLC in 2015 when they were originally known as ‘inclusive skills’ competitions.

“These competitions were designed to raise aspirations and motivate our Level 1 students to build their confidence and self-esteem as they developed skills and knowledge. We were also keen to infuse learning with excitement and combine the achievement of qualifications with success in competitions. As we see in these latest results, students often go on to exceed expectations based on their prior learning and are able to demonstrate mastery of a skill and enjoy the comradeship of competing with their peers.

“Congratulations to all our students who worked so hard to achieve such fantastic results. Special thanks are due to their tutors who have helped to keep them on track and provided them with so much support and encouragement.”

Speaking to Steph McGovern on the live online results show, Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK said, “All our finalists have worked extremely hard and shown that they have the resilience, commitment, and determination to succeed. They should all be extremely proud of the fantastic results they have achieved.”

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