North West Regional College students head to UK Worldskills finals

Three students from North West Regional College (NWRC) will compete in the finals of the Skills Olympics next week.

By Daire Ní Chanáin
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 4:15 pm

Welder, Reiss Killen, Wall and Floor Tiler, Morgan Nutt and Lab Technician, Mya Kelly will enter into three days of intense competition to be names the best in the UK in their respective fields.

Mya Kelly is doing the Foundation Degree in Medical and Applied Science at NWRC and she will be competing in the Laboratory Technician competition in the University of Manchester. The competition takes place from November 17-10 and she will be accompanied by her lecturer Diane Smyth as well as Science Lecturer Maria McHugh who will be one of the judges.

Mya said, “I first learned about the Worldskills NI heats through my lecturer Diane Smyth. Because of Covid-19 we hadn’t been able to spend as much time in the laboratories as we wanted so I saw this as an opportunity to get some practical work done.

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Morgan Nutt who studies Wall and Floor Tiling at NWRC Greystone will compete in the UK Finals of Worldskills. (Picture Martin McKeown).

“It was a tough heat and our tasks included extracting substances from sweet potato and spinach as well as Thin Layer Chromatography. I was surprised when I found out I was the winner but delighted.”

“I don’t have a clue what I’ll be asked to do but I’ve been practising as much as I can at college.

“I came to NWRC after finishing my A Levels and I’m glad I studied the Foundation Degree at the college before going on to Uni. I studied A Levels in Chemistry, Maths and Technology at school, but being at NWRC has also allowed me to develop my skills in Biology.

“I definitely think taking this path has made me more confident going on to Uni, I think going straight from school would have been too much of a drastic change for me. It’s great to get the chance to attend UK Finals, and NWRC gave me that chance. My lecturers have been incredibly supportive.”

Reiss Killen who is studying for his Level 3 Diploma in Fabrication and Welding at NWRC Springtown will compete in the Welding finals. (pic Martin McKeown)

Diane Smyth, Lecturer in Science at NWRC said, “This a great experience for Mya, during the heats she will have to think on her feet and build resilience, but we’re incredibly proud of the work she has put in ahead of the competition. She’s hot on the heels of our former student Suzanne Ramage who achieved a Bronze medal in 2019, proving that NWRC is instrumental in shaping the most talented scientists of the future. I can’t wait to cheer her on.”

Morgan Nutt is a tiling apprentice from Claudy and he will be competing in the Wall and Floor Tiling UK finals in the English town of Bircham Newton. Morgans brother, Cameron, was a carpentry student at NWRC who competed in the World Finals in Abu Dhabi in 2017. If Morgan wins his competition, he could be selected for Team UK at the 2024 finals, following in his brothers footsteps.

Morgan said, “I always knew that when I left school, I wanted to do a trade. At school I completed my work experience with my brother Cameron so I knew when I finished my GCSEs my next stop was NWRC.

“I really enjoy the course in Tiling and the lecturers have been incredibly supportive helping me prepare for this next stage. I have no idea what I’ll be asked to do at the finals, so I’m practising as hard as I can to get ready. Obviously, I know a good bit about Worldskills from my brother Cameron’s time in Abu Dhabi, I keep telling him that I’m going to beat him!”

David McCay, Morgan’s lecturer at NWRC Greystone, said that the 18 year-old has the potential to go all the way to the 2024 Worldskills finals in Lyon.

He said, “Morgan will have three days of competition where he will be asked to complete a project he has never seen sight of before. It will be a real test for him working on a new concept but we’re looking forward to seeing him take on the challenge.

“He has particular skills in this field, and shows real consistency through his work, an eye for detail and has a great ability to keep his eye on the clock, ensuring that he completes each task within the time frame.

“Morgan is a grafter. We’ve been so impressed with his work and through his employment with SMC Tiling. We wish him all the best for his challenge.”

Reiss Killen will be competing in the welding competition and he comes from a family of very skilled welders.

He said, “I previously attended St Brigid’s Carnhill, but when I finished my GCSEs I knew I wanted to study for a trade. I wanted to be able to study something practical because that was what I was good at.

“My uncles are welders so studying Fabrication and Welding seemed like a natural fit. I enjoy welding and as well as my course I’m also employed at GMK Engineering. When I’m fully qualified I hope to go on to work full time with GMK Engineering.

“My lecturer Shane Colgan suggested Worldskills to me and the heats were tough, but I’m delighted to have progressed to the next stage of the competition.

“I’ve done a few practice sessions but I’m really not sure what I’ll be asked to so when I get over there. It’ll be nerve wracking, but I’ll do my best.”

Welding Lecturer Shane Colgan described Reiss as a “talented young apprentice.”

He added, “Reiss listens well, learns well and has an excellent work ethic. One of the best parts of the job is watching young students like Reiss progress to levels like this and move on to amazing opportunities. He deserves all the success he has achieved to date. I’ll be accompanying him to Cumbria for the finals and I’m sure he’ll do a great job and make everyone at NWRC Springtown proud. We wish him all the best.”