Newcastle College students were the big winners at an annual national skills competition hosted by NCG, taking away four out of ten of the prizes.

NCG Skills brings together students from colleges across NCG every February. Returning for its third year, Newcastle College played host to students from five colleges who competed against each other for the chance to represent their college and region in national competitions, including being put forward for WorldSkills UK.

Newcastle College produced four winners, including Courtney Maddison, who took away the award for Painting and Decorating for the second year running.

Courtney said: “I had a fantastic day competing in the NCG Skills final. Winning for the second year in a row has really boosted my confidence and made me realise that the time and effort I’m putting into my time at college is really paying off! I’m excited for the next competition, the pressure is definitely on!”

Alongside Courtney, Newcastle College students proved a handy bunch with Marshall Parry winning the Bricklaying category, Anna Martin for Beauty and Harriet Hawdon for Carpentry.

Harriet said: “It was my first time experiencing an NCG Skills final and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The day allowed me to talk to people from other colleges all over the country and exchange experiences with them. Winning felt amazing. I would absolutely love to do it again in the future!  I hope to be continuing my studies with Newcastle College and I will take this experience with me to further my career in construction.”

Students’ knowledge and skills were put to the test through a series of practical tasks in real work experience environments, allowing them to showcase their abilities to a panel of expert judges. With students competing in areas such as carpentry, hairdressing, hospitality and catering, joinery, painting and decorating and more, there were a huge range of skills on show.

The competition is modelled on WorldSkills which is a global network of 80 countries each hosting competitions-based training, assessment and benchmarking for young people with the hope of competing at the biennial competition which brings together all countries. This format prepares students for the nation-wide competition, as the winners and runners up of each category is entered to take part in the regional heats of WorldSkillsUK, with the hopes of qualifying for the national competition.

The competition was judged by experts in each of the categories alongside education specialists NOCN, Construction EPA, VTCT and representatives from WorldSkillsUK.

According to WorldSkillsUK, 97 per cent of its previous entrants say they improved their technical skills after taking part in the competition and 93 per cent said they improved their personal and employability skills.

Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College, commented: “Our aim is to maximise the potential of our students at Newcastle College and arm them with employability skills, so that they can become the North East’s workforce of the future. Skills competitions like these offer a perfect platform for students to put into practice what they’ve learned and learn from other competitors on the day. We’re lucky to be part of a national group that can work together to offer a hands-on experience like this for our students.

"Congratulations to all our finalists and well done to the winners. We wish them the best of luck in qualifying for WorldSkills and for the next step in their career, they’re all fantastic representatives for the college.”

NCG Skills 2023 winners:

  • Bricklaying: Marshall Parry – Newcastle College
  • Painting and Decorating: Courtney Maddison – Newcastle College
  • Joinery: George Swift – Carlisle College
  • Carpentry: Harriet Hawdon – Newcastle College
  • Hospitality and Catering: Solomon Tesfaye – Lewisham College
  • Plumbing: Kamarleo Lawrence - Lewisham College
  • Electrical: Harry Stanley - Kidderminster College
  • Creative media make up: Kyera Hughes – Kidderminster College
  • Hairdressing: Kayley Thorogood – Kidderminster College
  • Beauty: Anna Martin – Newcastle College