UK’s best performing college SRC honours its WorldSkills medal winners with an evening of Celebrations  

Southern Regional College (SRC) has hosted a special evening celebrating its outstanding performance as the UK’s best in WorldSkills UK for a second year running.

All of the college’s winners and finalists were honoured at a ceremony on Tuesday night at the Graduate Restaurant at the Newry East Campus.

WorldSkills UK is a partnership between education providers, industry and the UK government to champion skill sets and raise industry standards. The competition celebrates the best of young talent and even provides young people with the opportunity to progress to European and WorldSkills competition series.

Lee Campbell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRC spoke of her immense pride that the college had reached the pinnacle in the ‘Skills Olympics’ for a second year and commended all those in attendance for contributing to that success.

Delivering her speech at the ceremony, she said:

“From amongst thousands of competitors hailing from all corners of the United Kingdom, our students have showcased their talents at an unparalleled level, bringing home an impressive array of medals. Our students secured an outstanding 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 4 bronze medals, a testament to their dedication, perseverance, and sheer skill.
“Southern Regional College has consistently been within the UK’s top three ranking colleges in these UK wide competitions over the past number of years. In 2022 we set ourselves the target of reaching the number one spot within five years. Little did we know that through the hard work, diligence and dedication of staff and students at the College we would achieve this within one year being crowned top college in the UK in 2023. And now to make it to the top for the second consecutive year is simply remarkable.”

She also paid tribute to the tireless dedication of the staff as well as the unwavering support of parents and guardians in encouraging all the young people who took part.

Medals were then presented to all finalists from SRC’s Governing Body Chair, Dr Thomas Moore. The event was hosted by SRC’s Development Manager Lindsay Bronte who plays an instrumental role in overseeing all College Skills competitions.

Engineering Level 5 Foundation Degree Higher Level Apprenticeship Student Ross Graham, who took Gold in Automation, said winning the top prize “means everything to him”.

Ross said about winning his Gold medal:
“There was a lot of hard work and time spent put into preparing for the competition. It means a lot to get gold and be able to celebrate at this event tonight. The competition itself really enhanced my skills the lectures within the College spent a lot of time in helping me to prepare. They are always trying to push me that one extra step which has been evident through the competition results.”

Ross is now aiming to progress onto the Engineering BEng Level 6 Top Up Degree offered within the College.

As part of the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme, Ross is employed with ReGen Robotics in Newry and his employer Shane Sloan was there at the ceremony to applaud his achievement.

Commenting about his employee’s success at WorldSkills UK, Shane said:

“Competitions like WorldSkills provide students with the opportunity to stand out to employers such as myself. They offer specialised knowledge, expertise in their area and ultimately, a competitive advantage over others.”

Also taking home the gold for Beauty Therapy Practitioner was Mykenzie Cartmill. She said the competition has helped transform her into a true professional in her chosen sector.

Mykenzie said about winning her Gold medal:
“It’s great to be recognised for my achievements. I put a lot of hard work and effort into trying to secure the gold medal. This journey has given me more confidence to one day have my own salon or possibly have the opportunity to teach within the College.”