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Scottish college named ‘Best in UK’ for skills
Finalists in Digital Construction celebrate at NCL's watch party for the WorldSkills UK finals (Photo Lewis Napier)
Education & Skills

Scottish college named ‘Best in UK’ for skills 

New College Lanarkshire has retained its title as the best institution in the UK for skills provision, after coming out on top in the national WorldSkills UK competition.

Students from across the college’s Motherwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld campuses won 15 accolades in total – including three gold, three silver, three bronze and six highly commended awards.

The medal haul meant the institution topped the WorldSkills UK medal leader board – the fifth time it has been named number one performing institution in the competition since 2013.

More than 400 of the UK’s top apprentices and learners competed in the national finals – which took place at 21 venues across the UK in November – in an effort to be recognised as the very best in the UK in their field.

Twenty-four finalists representing New College Lanarkshire competed in the finals, after securing their place through excelling in the National Qualifiers in the summer.

They competed across seven different categories: Digital Construction; Electronic Security Systems; Mechanical Engineering: CAD; IT Software Solutions for Business; IT Support Technician; Network Infrastructure Technician; and Commercial Make-up.

New College Lanarkshire students swept the board in the Digital Construction competition, with Paul Hudson claiming the gold medal, while Taylor Williamson achieved silver and Pawel Kudosz secured the bronze. Three NCL students – Connor Bradley, Lorraine Tollan and Piotr Zagajewski – were also highly commended in this category.

In the IT Support Technician competition, the gold medal went to Izaac Bharwani, with Christopher Nairn winning bronze, while Greg Johnston was highly commended.

In the IT Software Solutions for Business category, Fiona Stewart won silver, while Zoe Lazenby-Carroll received the bronze award in the same competition.

In Mechanical Engineering: CAD, the gold medal was claimed by Clark McGeechan, while Imogen Wright was highly commended.

The final NCL medal went to Jamie Easton, who was announced as silver medal winner in the Commercial Make-up competition. Thomas Docherty was also highly commended in the Electronic Security Systems category.

The winners were announced by TV presenter Steph McGovern, in a special event which was live-streamed from her Packed Lunch studio on Friday 26 November.

Professor Christopher Moore, principal and chief executive of New College Lanarkshire, said: “The outstanding successes of our students has meant that New College Lanarkshire has retained its position as the number one institution in the UK for skills, after we also came top in 2019 and the 2020 competition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a fantastic achievement – a clear demonstration of the skill and dedication of our staff and the talents and hard work of our students. I wish each and every one of them my congratulations and very best wishes.”

Competition judging panels also included a number of New College Lanarkshire staff experts – Barry Skea and Lisa Nicholson in the Mechanical Engineering: CAD category, Robert Balfour in the Network Infrastructure Technician competition, Jenny Kydd in IT Software Solutions for Business, and Michael McGuire in Digital Construction. 

Matthew Smith, dean for academic planning and innovation and WorldSkills lead for the college, said: “I am so proud of all 24 students who competed in the WorldSkills UK finals, in what was a challenging year with the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

“They trained so hard and really gave it their all. Being named number one in the UK for skills once again is a testament to these students, and to the hard work and commitment of staff who work tirelessly to ensure our students are ready for this competition. I’d like to personally thank all the staff who spent countless hours training and mentoring, as well as those who ensured that the WorldSkills UK categories that were hosted here at NCL’s Motherwell Campus were a great success.”

Designed by industry experts, the WorldSkills UK competitions equip apprentices and learners with the world-class skills needed to help UK businesses better compete globally.

Martin McGuire, WorldSkills UK director for Scotland said: “Congratulations to all competitors from Scotland on another terrific medal haul at the National Finals. It’s of great credit to them, and their tutors, and a fantastic endorsement of our skills system. These young people are a real inspiration. They have excelled after one of the most difficult years anyone can remember and their dedication and drive has been second to none.”

Award winners will now be considered to join the training programme for WorldSkills Shanghai 2022.

For more information about WorldSkills UK, click here.

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