Newcastle College students were named winners at an annual national skills competition, held during National Apprenticeship Week.

Harvey McCreedy, Tuan Hung Dang and Laura Kirk all impressed a panel of expert employer judges to be named winners at NCG Skills 2024.

NCG Skills is an annual skills competition that brings together learners from across five NCG colleges to compete against each other in areas including carpentry, hairdressing, hospitality and catering, joinery, painting and decorating.

Modelled on WorldSkills, a global network of competition-based training, assessment and benchmarking for young people, the competition is all about putting students’ knowledge and skills to the test through a series of practical tasks in real work experience environments, preparing them for the reality of producing their best work under pressure.

It also offers students the chance to be put forward for regional and national competitions and represent their college on the national stage.

14 Newcastle College students travelled to Lewisham College to take part in the competition after qualifying in regional heats held in December.  Their aim was to showcase their skills to the judging panel, which was made up of experts in each of the categories alongside education specialists NOCN, Construction EPA, VTCT and representatives from WorldSkills UK.

20-year-old Laura Kirk from County Durham took first place in Creative Media Makeup. Currently studying a Level 3 Diploma in Hair and Media Makeup, Laura travelled to the competition just a few days after returning from an educational trip to St Lucia.

She said: “I found the opportunity fantastic, and I was overjoyed that I was placed first. I feel the skills I learned over in St Lucia were beneficial and my confidence has improved so much. I am now looking forward to further competitions where I can showcase my skills.”

Tuan Hung Dang, 17, from Killingworth, was named winner of the Hairdressing category.  Tuan, who is studying a Level 2 Certificate in Hair Techniques, added: “During the competition, I felt there were so many talented students that I didn't stand a chance of winning. So, when I heard my name announced during the award ceremony, I was both surprised and overjoyed. It was such a wonderful feeling to be recognised among so many talented individuals.”

Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College commented: “Competitions like NCG Skills offer a great 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 a special well done to the winners. We wish them the best of luck for the next step in their career, they’re all fantastic representatives for the college.”

NCG Skills 2024 winners:

  • Bricklaying: Harvey McGreedy – Newcastle College
  • Painting and Decorating: Glen Purcell, Lewisham College
  • Joinery: Connor Irwin, Kidderminster College
  • Carpentry: Bradley Valthuysen, Kidderminster College
  • Culinary Arts: Geoff Harney, Carlisle College
  • Plumbing: Josue Aguilar, Lewisham College
  • Electrical Installation: Jayton Wignall, Lewisham College
  • Creative media make up: Laura Kirk, Newcastle College
  • Hairdressing: Tuan Hung Dang, Newcastle College
  • Beauty: Eryn O'Connor, Kidderminster College