Andrew Mc Cann, a South West College Plumbing and Heating apprentice, is among thirteen students from Northern Ireland to be selected for the prestigious World Skills UK squad and is hoping to compete at the WorldSkills competition in Lyon next year. As an apprentice, Andrew from Aughnacloy studies at the Omagh Campus one day a week and is employed four days a week with Anderson Mechanical Services, based in Loughgall, Armagh.

Andrew’s route to the WorldSkills UK squad began in early 2022, when he won the intercampus Plumbing and Heating competition. He also won Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious Northern Ireland Plumbing and Heating Awards 2022.

This led to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) NI SkillBuild regional qualifier, where Andrew secured top spot, resulting in selection for the SkillBuild UK National Final, which saw over 500 students and apprentices, compete for gold, silver, and bronze in a variety of disciplines.

Andrew’s success in the Plumbing and Heating finals, held at Middlesborough College in November 2022, means he will now join a total of 94 young people from around the UK and will begin an 18-month intensive training programme in the hope of being selected for the final UK team to compete against other students and apprentices from more than 80 nations in Lyon in September, 2024.

As a UK squad member Andrew will undertake an intense specialist training programme with WorldSkills UK to help him prepare for the next stage of the competition. During his training he will be mentored by a team of highly-skilled trainers, industry experts, former medal winners and performance coaches to help him prepare for the pressure of competing at such a high level. The final team to represent the UK on the international stage will be announced next spring.

Reflecting on his achievements, Andrew said:

It is a huge honour to have got this far and I would like to thank both the College and my employer for supporting me throughout this journey. The lecturers at the College have gone above and beyond and I am now looking forward to developing my technical and mindset skills even further as part of WorldSkills UK squad training.

Andrews Tutor Marcy Doherty, said:

“We are delighted with the announcement that Andrew will join the WorldSkills Uk squad. Throughout a series of challenging regional heats Andrew has performed exceptionally well and he is a worthy ambassador for South West College and his employer, Anderson Mechanical Services. We are excited for Andrew and are ready to support him as he begins a comprehensive training scheme for the opportunity to compete at an international level in Lyon next year.”

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