Largest ever Northern Regional College delegation to compete at prestigious ‘Skills Olympics'

Abigail Reilly, an apprentice plumber, is one of Northern Regional College’s learners who have qualified for the WorldSkills UK Live Finals

SOME of the north's top apprentices and learners will be going for gold next week at the prestigious WorldSkills UK Live finals in Birmingham, dubbed the ‘Olympics of vocational skills'.

A contingent of Northern Regional College students fought off stiff competition, battling through competitive inter-campus and regional qualifying rounds to secure their place, with the original entry of more than 3,000 whittled down to just 500 for the national finals.

The UK's largest skills, apprenticeship and careers event, competitions are run in 70 different skills across the digital, technology, engineering, construction and hospitality industries and finalists have to complete a set task in their respective skill area within a limited time in front of the 70,000 plus visitors attending the event.

The Northern Regional College finalists who have qualified in eight different skills areas are from across the College's six campuses.

They are Abigail Reilly from Ballymena (plumbing), Jack Marshall, Newtownabbey (web design), Ashton Logan, Ballymena (bricklaying), Patrick McCloskey, Coleraine (carpentry), Tadas Dobrovlskis, Newtownabbey (welding), Philip Park, Ballymoney (graphic design) and Maciej Twardowski, Magherafelt (IT software solutions for business).

Northern Regional College has a proven track record at WorldSkills UK finals. Last year, Aghadowey student Samuel Gilmore was named UK champion for carpentry. He has since gone on to be crowned Europe's best apprentice at the European Alliance for Apprenticeship Awards in Helsinki in October.

Professor Terri Scott, principal and chief executive of Northern Regional College, said: “The students competing at WorldSkills UK Live are shining examples of the skills and talent inherent to our young people at the College.

“What they have achieved so far is a reflection of their commitment and dedication to their respective career paths and I wish them every success in the national finals.

“These students are testament to the high level of success that can be achieved in any subject when their hard work is fostered in a caring, encouraging and supportive environment.”

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