The national finals are traditionally held at the NEC, Birmingham but, because of Covid restrictions, this year’s finals will take place in 23 different locations across the UK.
With all eight finalists in the Industrial Robotics category representing NRC, WorldSkills invited the College to host the Industrial Robotics final at its Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena. Over 3,000 competitors registered for the prestigious vocational skills competition back in March 2021. The top eight competitors from across the UK in each of the 64 skills categories qualified for the national finals and chance to win a coveted gold, silver or bronze medal.
The winners will be announced during a virtual ceremony hosted by TV presenter Steph McGovern and streamed lived from ‘Steph’s Packed Lunch’ studio on Friday, November 26.
The four local teams whose members all study at NRC Ballymena are: Team ‘Hammer Basher and Sparky’, Cameron Middleton and Adam Kirkpatrick who from both from Ballymena; the ‘2 Dudes 1 Robot’ made up of Louie Heath and Brennan Wilson, a former Cambridge House Grammar School student; Jude Moore and Aaron Stevenson who make up ‘The Athletes’ Industrial Robotics team; and Julia Millar and Thomas Simpson who make up ‘The Cyborgs’.
WorldSkills UK is a competition-based development programme, designed by industry experts, to enhance the practical skills and knowledge taught on training courses. The skills competitions assess employability attributes against set criteria.
The programme has a positive impact on competitors with 90% of previous entrants saying their career progression improved after competing.
Adam Kirkpatrick from Ballymena said getting to the national finals had been a real boost for his confidence: “The competition has been a brilliant opportunity to meet new friends, learn industry specific skills and it is a great talking point to have on your CV.”
Gordan Kane, the College’s Skills Champion, congratulated all the finalists who will be representing the College and said it is a wonderful achievement for them.