SRC students secure seven-medal haul in WorldSkills UK

Pictured with a group of this year’s WorldSkills UK finalists are Brian Doran, chief executive of SRC, and the college’s assistant director David Vint
Pictured with a group of this year’s WorldSkills UK finalists are Brian Doran, chief executive of SRC, and the college’s assistant director David Vint

SOUTHERN Regional College has put in its best performance ever at this year’s WorldSkills UK Live final event as it championed Northern Ireland’s overall success with a haul of seven top-winning medals.

It also retained its top three leader board ranking and was once again the only further education college in the north to secure a place in the UK’s 20 best performers in this intense competition.

Held in Birmingham, the annual event is the UK’s largest elite skills and careers event covering a range of professional disciplines from plumbing to catering and beauty therapy to tiling. It also pitches the UK’s best performers against their peers for a chance to win top medals in their skill and represent the UK on the international stage.

With more than 530 apprentices and students competing in 70 disciplines, SRC’s seven-medal haul from the event also saw it retain its number one place in Northern Ireland on the strength of its performance.

SRC’s team of students from across the Newry and Mourne, Armagh and Craigavon areas secured two gold medals, three silver and two bronze across a wide variety of disciplines including beauty therapy, professional cookery and tiling.

The event attracted more than 80,000 young people gearing up for a vocational pathway to work and was the backdrop for the all-important National Finals of WorldSkills UK Competitions. A total of 19 students competed from SRC.

Brian Doran, chief executive at SRC, who attended the competition alongside officials from the Department for the Economy, said: “SRC’s success reflects the strength of our skilled and talented teams, the dedication of our staff and the support of family and friends.

“This elite skills competition is tough and the hard work that goes into a winning performance like this is a real triumph for everyone involved.”

Putting SRC out in front was Portadown’s Shelby Jones and Dylan Calvert from Tandragee, who faced down the competition in beauty therapy and floor & wall tiling respectively to take home gold medals.

Three silver medals were secured by Blackwatertown’s Shannon Fearon and Kirsty Frazer from Newtownhamilton in beauty therapy and beauty therapy practitioner respectively. Dylan Gillanders from Armagh also claimed a silver medal in the floor and wall tiling category.

Two bronze medals were won by Newry’s Steven Megaw and Armagh’s Aaron Gillespie for culinary arts and floor & wall tiling respectively.

Following their success, some of the winning students are already vying to be chosen by WorldSkills UK to join the training programme for WorldSkills Shanghai 2021, where they could be selected to represent the UK in their chosen skills area on a global stage.