North West students prove to be the BEST

Stephen Wilson, winner of the BEST Award 19+ Category with Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, MLA
Stephen Wilson, winner of the BEST Award 19+ Category with Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, MLA

North west students have taken the top prizes at an awards ceremony honouring the north’s next generation of computer and engineering experts.

Stephen Wilson, a Foundation Degree Science in Computing and Software Development student at the North West Regional College won top prize in the first ever northern wide BEST (Business & Education through Training & Skills) Awards.

The winners from the BEST Awards 2011 pictured with Dr Stephen Farry, MLA. Picture includes Stephen Wilson, Chris Brown, Alistair Craig, Leslie Moffat and David Stockman from North West Regional College

The winners from the BEST Awards 2011 pictured with Dr Stephen Farry, MLA. Picture includes Stephen Wilson, Chris Brown, Alistair Craig, Leslie Moffat and David Stockman from North West Regional College

Stephen won for his Essential Skills Management System.

Fellow Foundation Degree student Chris Brown collected the runner-up award in the same category with a Community Sports Facility Software.

Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, speaking after awarding the prizes, said:

“It is great to see so many of our college students actively involved in this new competition, especially as it is clear that the success of our economy will increasingly be dependent on our young people developing skills in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“The BEST Awards have stimulated our college talent and I have been greatly impressed by the high standards shown by all the entries. I hope that many of the people here today continue to be inspired by these subjects and go on to have a successful career in this sector in Northern Ireland.”

Alistair Craig, from the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering at the Limavady Campus, won the Department for Enterprise Trader and Investment Innovation Award for his Bale Accumulator. This is an agricultural project to design and manufacture a machine to gather bales of hay etc. into a compact group so that they are easier to handle, and a time and labour saving device.

Leslie Moffat, currently completing the Higher National Diploma in Engineering at Strand Road won the SEMTA sponsored Physical Science Award for the The Green Greenhouse. This project is environmental control of a self sustained greenhouse for medium size commercial and domestic growers.

The BEST awards scheme have been developed by Colleges Northern Ireland to celebrate the creative and innovative talents within Northern Ireland’s six Regional Colleges in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).