Record number set to compete at WorldSkills UK finals

Louise Warde Hunter, chair of the Further Education Colleges Principals’ Group
Louise Warde Hunter, chair of the Further Education Colleges Principals’ Group

A RECORD 63 further education students from the north have been selected to take part in the WorldSkills UK finals in November, when they will participate in a wide range of competitions including automation, mechatronics, beauty therapy, robotics, construction skills and culinary arts.

Southern Regional College has the second largest number of participants of any college in the UK, with 25 students will compete for gold at six host campuses - Barking & Dagenham, Belfast Metropolitan College, Blackpool & The Fylde, Cardiff & Vale, Edinburgh, and Middlesbrough.

The annual WorldSkills competition gives individual students and apprentices the opportunity to test their knowledge and skills against their peers in the UK.

Louise Warde Hunter, chair of the Further Education Colleges Principals’ Group, said: “We're incredibly proud of all our students who have been selected to compete in the WorldSkills UK competitions.

“Their dedication and talent for their chosen course is a real reflection on the fantastic abilities of students in further education across Northern Ireland and we are thrilled to be able to display that on a national level. Our students’ success is a testament to the high quality teaching and mentoring that takes place across the FE sector in Northern Ireland.

“Belfast Metropolitan College is especially excited to welcome students from across the UK to our campuses as we host a number of the ‘Skills Olympics’ finals. It is a welcome opportunity for our college to showcase the world class campus resources on offer that support our students gain their qualifications, as well as building further connections with colleagues across the UK in the further education sphere.

“All six Colleges wish every student the best of luck in their competition finals in November and we look forward to welcoming finalists from across the UK to Belfast as part of the finals.”

Patrick Sheerin from Southern Regional College, who will compete in the mechatronics category, said: “It's a fantastic opportunity for me to represent my college, showcase the skills and knowledge I have gained during my studies and training, and meet other competitors who are like minded.

“WorldSkills is an added bonus of attending my local Further Education College and it gives me an experience I wouldn’t normally have, which I hope will help in my next career steps post-education.”