FOUR outstanding students from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have wowed judges at the UK’s largest multi-trade competition The Skills Show held in the NEC in Birmingham recently.
And, thanks to the student’s hard work, SERC were placed fourth in the overall league table, the only college in Northern Ireland to be placed within the top five having won two Gold medals and a further two Silver medals.
The announcement came after three days of intense practical competition where hundreds of students from across the province competed in the prestigious competition to become the best of the best in their chosen skill.
When the results were announced 20-year old Carpentry apprentice Mark Hawthorne from Downpatrick was celebrating having won a silver medal at the 2013 WorldSKills UK Carpentry national competition.
Commenting on his success Mark said: “The whole experience has been great, I’ve learned so much and want to thank my tutors who have prepared me for the competition. The competition was tough, but it’s been worth all the hard work and preparation. Now I hope that the experiences from the competition can act as a platform for success throughout my career.
“I have been entering competitions for a couple of years now and it was a great feeling to have secured silver at this highly regarded skills competition. I still get slightly nervous especially since I’m usually competing against people who are older and have more experience but our tutors have really helped us to prepare for this competition and that has paid off.”
Brian McMullen, Competitions Manager for SERC, said: “Mark has represented himself and the College extremely well and demonstrated just how exciting, challenging and rewarding a course in the Further Education sector can be. For competitors it’s the experience of a lifetime and recognition of outstanding achievement. This success will also give him an edge in the very competitive jobs market.”
Ken Webb, SERC Principal and Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of all our students in the competition. The students worked extremely hard and showed great commitment and enthusiasm both before and during the competition. This is a fantastic achievement and we, as a college, are very proud of them all.
“The success in previous competitions has provided skills champions for our College. This in turn encourages our current learners to raise their aspirations and skill levels above the qualification requirements helping to give them a competitive edge, in addition to demonstrating their commitment to training and excellence.”
Commending Mark on his hard work and dedication, John Nixon, Head of School for Construction and Engineering Services at SERC, said: “I would like to congratulate Mark on his success. Taking a silver medal at a national competition is something to be proud of and I hope he cherishes this achievement for a long time.
“He is a credit to the College, his family and his employers, I have no doubt he will continue to develop his skills within the industry and have a very successful career. His success is a credit to the lecturers and employers who have been supporting him in advance of the intense competition.”
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