The UK’s most talented young tradeswomen and tradesmen and skilled professional were crowned the nation’s number one last weekend at the climax of The Skills Show at the NEC, Birmingham.
Almost 500 young apprentices, representing 55 disciplines – as diverse as aircraft maintenance to 3D game design, cabinet making to beauty therapy and plumbing to cyber security – took part in the National Finals.
Damian Blasczcyk from South West College (SWC) in Dungannon triumphed in the Automotive Technology category, winning gold; Alex Kovacs from Omagh Campus was awarded Bronze in the Web Design category and carpentry apprentice Garry Gray was highly commended. Speaking about the local apprentices’ success at the competition, Ciaran McManus, Head of Industry and Training at South West College said:
“Our students’ success is a testament to the quality of teaching and learning at the college. We are extremely proud of both the staff and students and their commitment to representing themselves and South West College at a national level. “We also look forward to working with the final team of apprentices who have been selected for the WorldSkills 2019 UK squad.”
During the awards ceremony, 145 young people were also named for the WorldSkills UK Squad, including four apprentices from South West College – Garry Gray (carpentry); Piaras McErlean (electrical installation); Jamie Howe (joinery) and Alex Kovacs (web design) – all of whom will compete in WorkdSkills 2019 in Kazan, Russia.
Forty students from Northern Ireland competed at the UK Skills Show, representing 10% of the total medals awarded throughout the competition.