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WorldSkills UK national finalists announced – 24 are from New College Lanarkshire

Talented students and apprentices from across the UK have been announced as finalists at a prestigious skills competition – and 24 of those are from New College Lanarkshire (@NCLanarkshire). 

WorldSkills UK has today announced the names of the 400 students and apprentices who will be battling it out across 64 disciplines to be crowned national skills champions.

The 24 students from NCL are set to compete in the national finals from 9-19 November, after being selected as the top performers in their chosen skills from National Qualifiers held across the UK.

An impressive line-up of NCL students will compete in the Digital Construction final, representing the Faculty of Engineering & Automotive. Paul Hudson, Taylor Williamson, Connor Bradley, Gemma McLaughlin, Piotr Zagajewski, Pawel Kudosz, Cameron Steell, James Craig and Lorraine Tollan take up nine of the 11 finalist places on offer in that category.

In the Mechanical Engineering: CAD competition, the three students who will compete for NCL are Clark McGeechan, Imogen Wright and Martyna Pietrzyk. 

Representing the Faculty of Computing & Creative Industries, NCL students also dominate the IT Support Technician final, with Christopher Nairn, Izaac Bharwani, James Reid, Scott Hammerton, Greg Johnston and Krzysztof Gosz taking six of the eight places.

Another three students – Zoe Lazenby-Carroll, Khayla McGill and Fiona Stewart – will take their place in the IT Software Solutions for Business competition, while Ewan McBride competes in the Network Infrastructure Technician category.

Representing the Faculty of Service Industries, Jamie Easton will be competing in Commercial Make-up. 

There will also be a competition in Electronic Security Systems, with Thomas Docherty representing NCL.

Following 2020 and a year without competitions, over 3,000 people registered to take part in the UK-wide competitions back in March. The finalists will compete for gold, silver and bronze, with the winners crowned at a ceremony hosted by TV presenter Steph McGovern from her Packed Lunch studio on Friday 26 November.

This year sees the finals taking place in locations across the UK for the first time. From the Industrial Robotics final in Ballymena, to Heavy Vehicle Engineering in Cardiff, Culinary Arts in Glasgow and Web Design in Somerset, the 25 venues cover all four corners of the UK.

Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, WorldSkills UK said:

“I want to offer my congratulations to all those that took part in our programme this year, especially the finalists. After a year without competitions due to the pandemic it was really encouraging to see so many people back involved this year.

“Our competitions and competition-based development programmes equip apprentices and students with the lifelong, world-class skills that will help increase UK productivity and competitiveness.

“We are really excited to be taking the show on the road this year with finals hosted by colleges, training providers and employers across the UK. We hope seeing the finals will inspire young people at those venues to keep developing their technical and employability skills and recognise what can be achieved by developing excellence through skills.”

Professor Christopher Moore, Principal and Chief Executive at New College Lanarkshire, said:

“WorldSkills UK offers the chance for our students to showcase their specialist skills on a national scale, benchmarking against the very best in the country. It is great to see the competition return. 

“I am very proud that so many students will be representing New College Lanarkshire at the finals across such a diverse range of skills. This is testament to their hard work and enthusiasm as well as the dedication of our staff, and continues NCL’s exceptional track record in the competitions. At the last WorldSkills UK competition in 2019, we were named as the best performing institution after topping the medal table.”

The WorldSkills UK competition-based development programmes are designed by industry experts and enhance the practical skills and knowledge taught on training courses by assessing an individual’s employability attributes against set criteria in a competitive timed environment.

The programme has a real impact on those taking part, with 90% of previous entrants saying their career progression improved after competing and 86% stating their personal and employability skills had improved.

In September 2020, New College Lanarkshire became one of only two colleges in Scotland selected to work with the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence.

The Centre of Excellence, which is organised in partnership with education and skills charity NCFE, has been established to mainstream world-class standards in skills development in the UK.

Full details of the finals and the names of all the WorldSkills UK 2021 finalists can be found here.

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