NRC students going for gold at WorldSkills UK

Eleven Northern Regional College students will be going for gold at the prestigious WorldSkills UK national finals in November – the Olympics of vocational skills.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 8:10 am

They will be among the 400 plus finalists from across 64 disciplines looking to be crowned national champion in their specific skill with an opportunity to compete in next year’s World Finals in Shanghai.

To reach the national finals, competitors had to make it through the fiercely competitive regional qualifying rounds by completing a series of tasks in their specific skill area.

When the marks of all the competitors from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were collated, only the eight highest scoring students secured a coveted place in the finals.

Aaron Stevenson and Jude Moore - two of the students from NRC Ballymena who will be in the WorldSkills UK finals

All eight finalists in the Industrial Robotics category studied engineering at the College in Ballymena.

They are Cameron Middleton, Adam Kirkpatrick, Jude Moore, Aaron Stevenson, Brennan Wilson, Louie Health, Thomas Simpson and Julia Millar from Northern Regional College.

The other College finalists are Lydia Fletcher, a second year student, who is in the IT Software Solutions for Business final, while Savannah Hodgins and Jonathon Wilsdon have made it through to the 3D Digital Games Art and Web Design finals. Savannah and Jonathon have both progressed to Ulster University; Savannah is doing a BDes (Hons) in Animation while Jonathon is doing a BDes (Hons) in Interaction Design.

The national finals are traditionally held at the NEC, Birmingham, but because of Covid restrictions this year’s finals will take place in locations across the United Kingdom. IT Software Solutions for Business finals will be in Lanarkshire, Web Design in Weston Super Mare, Somerset, and 3D Digital Games Art in Media City, Salford, Manchester.

All eight Industrial Robotics finalists from Northern Regional College will be attending the final at the College’s Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena.

Gordon Kane, the College’s Skills’ Champion has congratulated the 11 finalists who have been selected to represent the College on the national stage, saying it is a wonderful achievement for them.

He said: “We are justifiably proud of them of what they have achieved so far. It’s wonderful to get through to this stage of a national competition and is a great boost for them to be able to have this on their CVs.

“Competing in the finals is an opportunity for our students to showcase their specialist skills on a national stage and benchmark themselves against the very best in the country.

“They are shining examples of the skills and talent inherent to our young people. What they have achieved so far reflects their commitment and dedication to their respective career paths and I wish them every success.”

Northern Regional College has a proven track record at WorldSkills UK finals with Rory McCloskey and Samuel Gilmore winning gold in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Milling and Carpentry respectively.