Students and alumni from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) have been celebrating after they collected 16 medals at the national WorldSkills UK finals putting the college at the top of the medal table in England, and fourth in the UK. The medal-winning competitors discovered that they had won five Gold, three Silver and eight Bronze medals as the results were announced live by Steph McGovern from her Channel 4 ‘Packed Lunch’ studio.
Gold medal winners included NWSLC alumni Maddie Lock, who earned the top spot in the visual merchandising skills competition. Maddie is currently studying for a degree in graphic design at the University of Brighton and is heading for a career in the creative sector. Apprentice Samuel Abbott, who works for E. Brook Joinery Ltd in Coventry, won the Gold medal for his joinery skills. Samuel will now go forward for a chance to compete for a place in Squad UK as it prepares for WorldSkills in Lyon in 2024.
In the foundation skills categories, Kelys Ramsay who is studying at the college’s Nuneaton Campus, picked up the Gold medal for hairdressing skills. The catering skills competition saw professional cookery student Georgina Price take the Gold medal, and Samuel Barnes from Leicester, who is working to qualify as an autocare technician, won his Gold medal for motor vehicle skills.
The Silver medals were won by Abbie Simpson for visual merchandising, Sinead Hitchman for foundation hairdressing and Callum Hearne in the foundation health and social care category. Bronze medallists included Jake Benson, Reece Todd, Ryan Maguire, and Frankie McCarthy in the digital media production skills competition. Meghan Shields won Bronze for visual merchandising and Grace Elliott picked up the Bronze medal for creative make-up skills. Casey McFarlane won a Bronze medal in the foundation catering category, and Lewis Smith collected Bronze for foundation health and social care.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, who is also deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills, said, “We’re absolutely thrilled with the outcome of the competition this year and so proud of all our students who worked so hard to achieve such fantastic results. Congratulations to all of them, and thanks to their tutors who have helped to keep them on track and provided them with so much support and encouragement.
“We are delighted that the outcome puts us at the top of the medals table English colleges. We are also thrilled that our students excelled in the foundation skills competitions. Foundation skills competitions, designed for those with special educational needs and disabilities, were originally conceived and first started by NWSLC, so we are particularly proud of our success in this area. We believe that medals won in this category should be given parity with those in the wider competition and I will continue to press for this with the organisers.”
Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK said, “These young people are a real inspiration. They are an example to us all and should be celebrated. To have excelled after such a difficult year shows that their dedication and skills are truly excellent. Skills are the lifeblood of every economy, creating high quality jobs, rewarding careers, and our competitions are proof that there is amazing talent in every part of the UK.”
Alumni from NWSLC are continuing to train to represent the UK on the world’s stage at the bi-annual WorldSkills competition in Shanghai in October 2022. Former student and Nuneaton chef Chloe Lloyd-Hughes will compete in the culinary arts category while Ellie Ruff will take on challenges in visual merchandising. Both are members of the prestigious WorldSkills UK Talent Development Programme after previously excelling in its national skills competitions.