East Durham College students among competition winners

Talented college students from across the region celebrated their winning efforts in the 2016/17 North East inter-college skills competitions.

The end-of-year celebration event took place at East Durham College’s Peterlee campus and saw student winners from East Durham College, Gateshead College, Hartlepool FE College, Middlesbrough College, New College Durham and Sunderland College all recognised for their fantastic achievements in winning their respective competition categories.

Over 120 students, from 12 colleges across the north east, competed throughout the academic year in a range of competition categories, including carpentry, computer aided design, plumbing and welding.

Over the last few years, colleges in the north east have fostered inter-college and regional skills competition events to bring together young people to help them develop broader skills, including building resilience and the ability to cope under pressure.

The north east competition categories have also been aligned to the region’s economic skills priorities to enhance their impact on the skills gap.

Suzanne Duncan, Principal of East Durham College and WorldSkills Ambassador for the North East, said: “Skills competitions have a hugely important role to play in driving up teaching and coaching standards and also our learners’ aspirations.

“Students and staff really value these opportunities to compete at a local level, and this helps prepare them to go on to the challenge of completing at a national level such as at WorldSkills UK.

“We continue to aim for greater links between inter-college skills competition activity and participation in WorldSkills UK national competitions – as well as a closer fit with the economic skills priorities of the region.

“At WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015 the UK achieved its best ever result and was ranked seventh in the medal table. There are currently nearly 100 young people, aged 18-25, in training as part of Squad UK, for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 being held in the UEA in October and I’m sure the North East inter-college skills competitions will help increase representation in the UK squad from the North East in the future.”

New College Durham students Shauna Ather, Kaitlyn Parkinson and Sara Whittle won the Health & Social Care regional finals category which were held at Newcastle College.

All ladies are studying on the NCFE Level 2 CACHE Extended Diploma in Health & Care. The competition was based around an accident in which a person collapsed unconscious and were not breathing. The students demonstrated CPR, prioritise and dealt with the situation giving appropriate first aid.

The girls said: “We enjoyed doing the competition, where we had fun while also showing the skills which we had learnt over the year. Also can we add that we won!”

Jordan King, 23 and from Roker, came second in the competition last year and was delighted to win the top spot this time round. He said: “I’m thrilled to have won. I tried my best, but you never know who you’re going to be up against – it was great the judges awarded me first place.”