*Image caption: Cian Coakley’s winning body paint design

Students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College have triumphed at the national finals of the WorldSkills UK LIVE competition, putting the college in first place in England after winning five Gold medals, six Silver and three Bronze medals overall.

WorldSkills UK LIVE is an inspirational showcase designed to highlight the latest training, education and job opportunities. As part of the three-day event at the NEC in Birmingham, students from across the UK who have been successful in regional heats compete with their peers in around 70 skills challenges. Twenty-one students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College took part, having already achieved success in regional heats. The competitions culminated in a glittering awards ceremony on Saturday, 23 November.

A Gold medal was awarded to Cian Coakley for his flair in creative media makeup after he produced a vivid full body paint design on the theme of weather from around the world. Cian,19 achieved his Level 2 and 3 media makeup qualifications at the college having been inspired by a school visit to WorldSkills UK when he was in Year 9.

Cian is now studying at University College Birmingham for a degree in specialist hair and media makeup and is interested in pursuing a career in fashion editorial or film makeup. On receiving his Gold medal, Cian said, “I have always set myself high standards and the piece I created for WorldSkills was the first I have been completely happy with. The competition process was quite stressful, but it was all worth it in the end.” He said that his tutors Lucy Johnson and Leanne Newitt had been a ‘massive help’, enabling him to get plenty of practice and providing helpful feedback.

Cian’s fellow student, Natalie Hill was recognised with a highly commended certificate in the creative media makeup category.

Silver medals were collected by digital media production team Holly Johnson, 17 from Nuneaton, Joe Taplin, 19 also from Nuneaton, Sam Hemmings, 18 from Bedworth and Megan Dawes, 17, from Hinckley for their work in producing a 90 second newsreel package on the WorldSkills UK event during which they demonstrated skills in directing, producing and editing.

Picking up a Silver medal for visual merchandising skills, Ellie Ruff, 17 from Nuneaton was tasked with creating a themed retail window display with the theme of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Ellie is studying a Level 3 qualification in graphic design at the college’s creative arts Hinckley Campus.

In the Inclusive Skills competition, for young people with special educational needs and disabilities, the Gold medal for catering went to Mya Miller, 17 from Bedworth who successfully prepared the most impressive picnic for two. Mya took part in the college’s Salon Culinaire challenge last year achieving a Bronze certificate and has now progressed on to a Level 1 programme in hospitality and catering. Despite working in unfamiliar surroundings at a large venue, her tutor Jason Thacker said that her commitment and enthusiasm carried her through.

Gold medal-winning Shona Emslie shone in the health and social care competition during which she was judged as part of a role play in an independent living setting. Shona would like to move on to an apprenticeship in childcare when she has completed her current qualification.

Gold medals were also awarded as part of a demonstration of motor vehicle skills by Dominik Cichonski and Shaun Osbourne while Kurtis Richards won the Silver medal in the same category. Callum Wood, Jamie Williams and Lyndon Brown were awarded Bronze medals for their skills in the media competition.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, who is also deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills, said: “We are delighted that so many of our students have excelled this week and congratulate them all on their achievements. They have benefited from some fantastic support from their tutors who consistently go the extra mile to help them practice and prepare themselves as well as they can.

“Competitions are an excellent way of enabling students to practice real-world employability skills including performing under pressure, delivering to tight deadlines and being judged by employers against industry standards. Taking part in live activities inspires young people to get enthusiastic about their future career options.

“The students who took part in Inclusive Skills, in particular, already face significant challenges in their learning so to compete like this on a national stage is truly exceptional.”

WorldSkills UK LIVE saw more than 70,000 visitors over three days with 562 students competing across 70 skills disciplines.

To find out more about how you could learn the same skills as our successful students, the College will be open at its Wigston Campus on Thursday, 28 November, and Nuneaton Campus on Tuesday, 3 December. All open events run from 5pm – 8pm. For more information, please visit this page.