Northern Ireland's further education colleges and vocational training providers are equipping young people with world class skills and abilities.
That was the message from Economy Minister Gordon Lyons as he congratulated five local students who will represent the UK at the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition.
The competition, which replaces the usual Skills Olympics, will see more than 1,000 young people participate in 62 skills competitions, being held over 12 weeks in 15 countries.
Speaking at a special event at the Lisburn campus of South Eastern Regional College, the Minister said: "I am delighted, and very proud, that five young people from Northern Ireland have qualified for the 35-strong UK team for this year's WorldSkills competition. That one in seven members of the UK team come from NI is testament to the exceptional level of learning students receive in our local further education colleges and training providers.
"It is also a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the young people themselves. The students will compete in skills areas as diverse as car painting, plastering and drywall systems, robot systems integration, and wall and floor tiling."
The Minister added: "Skills development is vitally important - for people, for employers and for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole. Skills competitions like WorldSkills - supported by my Department - encourage learners to hone their skills and perform to their absolute best, attributes that stand them in very good stead for their careers.
"Skills development is a cornerstone of my Department's 10X Economic Vision, which is why I launched an associated 10X Skills Strategy which set out how enhancing our skills base will contribute to making Northern Ireland one of the leading small elite economies in the world."
The Minister concluded: "I wish all of the NI students who are heading off to compete at the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition the very best of luck - I know they will represent us with pride and distinction."
The Northern Ireland-based students who will compete as part of the UK team at the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition are:
- Craig Kennedy - Riverpark Training - car painting
- Brendan Duddy - North West Regional College/Errigal Training Centre - plastering and drywall systems
- Cameron Middleton - Northern Regional College - robot systems integration
- Adam Kirkpatrick - Northern Regional College - robot systems integration
- Aaron Gillespie - Southern Regional College - wall and floor tiling