From 2-4th October 417 young skilled workers from 25 countries competed over three days in 41 skills for the title of best in Europe at EuroSkills, the largest European skills competition. The competition was hosted by WorldSkills France, a member of WorldSkills Europe and Regional Nord-Pas de Calais.
Twenty-one year old Declan travelled to Lille as part of Team UK, which was made up of 21 competitors representing 16 skills. The team returned from EuroSkills with a haul of 3 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 3 medallions for excellence, with the UK ranking 5th based on their average score.
The automotive technology category consisted of a total of 4 assessments, each lasting 3 hours, on a range of Peugeot and Renault models, including: engine mechanical; body electrics; engine management systems; steering suspension and brakes, with Declan excelling in particular in both electrical tasks.
Speaking about Declan’s success, his tutor at South West College, Raymond Fitzpatrick said:
“We are extremely proud of Declan. This result is a true reflection of his skills, knowledge and commitment to excel in his trade. His preparation before the competition was second to none and he left no stones unturned to make sure he was ready for the top-class standards expected at EuroSkills.
“Prior to EuroSkills, Declan spent a lot of time getting familiar with French car models, component reference numbers and French technical instructions using the college’s Renault computer system. We also purchased a Peugeot engine from England, which Declan brought home to strip and rebuild many times in his utility room! His commitment to giving his best is truly unquestionable!”
Having returned home with his gold medal, Declan added:
“The whole build up to the competition and competing at EuroSkills was a great experience and getting the gold medal means the world to me. Each assessment task presented multiple complex problems and my every move was scrutinised by a number of judges, so the pressure was definitely very intense.
“I really hope that this success and all the hard work will pay off with a place at WorldSkills.”
John Dawson, the UK Automotive Training Manager said:
“It was very difficult watching Declan work because I am his training manager and so his performance and welfare is my concern, but I am also an expert and judge.
“Declan was confident and put in a really good performance and did excellently in all of the areas we thought he would.”
South West College would like to thank Declan’s employer, Kevin Keown at Bundoran Motors for the continued support throughout the skills competitions and also to thank Edward Maguire at TC Autos (Omagh), a leading Renault supplier for working with Declan prior to EuroSkills to assist with product familiarisation, which involved working on a range of Renault models.