A North West Regional College (NWRC) student is preparing to travel to Kazan, Russia to compete in the 2019 Worldskills Finals, after being selected to represent Team UK in the field of Automotive Technology.
Declan Porter, from Derry, who studies at the college’s Springtown campus, which is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound redevelopment, will take part in the event, which is widely regarded as the World Skills Olympics, and will be televised during the last week of August.
Competing against students from more than 60 countries, Declan, who also works at Donaghey’s Garage, will go head to head against the top student mechanics in the World, in a bid to win a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal.
It’s a dream come true for the local man who had never left the country or even been on an aeroplane before he began taking part in skills competitions with NWRC.
“To begin with I wasn’t sure,” said Declan, “but Barry McDaid, my lecturer told me I was good enough and I should go for it.
“To get to the Worldskills Finals is a huge achievement and I’d love to bring back a medal. To come this far has been tough, I’ve had to get through a lot of heats against a lot of other experienced students.
“In the last few months, I’ve been in college working hard, even over the Summer months, to ensure I am completely ready for the competition in Kazan. In June Barry and I travelled to France for international training. The staff at NWRC have been supportive. I couldn’t study Automotive Technology at Secondary School so coming to Springtown campus was the perfect option for me. I had no idea it would lead on to me competing in a worldwide event like this, it really has been life-changing. As well as studying Automotive Technology I’ve also completed a course in Welding at NWRC Limavady which has given me an extra edge. “
But as Declan explains, car technology these days is much more than Mechanics, and he’s already stepping his preparation up a gear ahead of the competition. “Of course you need to know the mechanics and that it a big part of it,” he said. “There is also a huge I.T. element to Automotive Technology including knowing the electrics and mastering the diagnostic tools.
“In Kazan I’ll be asked to strip an engine with faults and put it back together again, but I have to be prepared for a wide range of tasks including body electrics, wheel alignment, engine management, and have a wide knowledge of hybrid cars. It’s challenging both mentally and physically.
“Luckily I have a calm head and will work with what they give me very methodically, bringing together all the knowledge I’ve acquired.”
Tune into Showcase TV (Sky 192, Freesat 161) on August 22 at 5pm, for the Opening Ceremony and August 27 at 5pm, for the celebrations from the Closing Ceremony.