16th Oct 2012
Matthew's skills lead to prestigious final
An Omagh student has made it through to the prestigious Skillauto Final at the NEC in Birmingham in November.
Matthew McKeown, a student at South West College Omagh Campus and trainee apprentice at Pat Kirks Ltd Omagh, topped his Northern Ireland heat this summer to win a place in the national final.
Specialising in auto technology and as part of his intensive diagnostic training for the event Matthew’s lecturer Paul O’Loughlin has developed a comprehensive training scheme with a range of local garages in Omagh.
Paul said; “At the event in the NEC Matthew will be expected to take on six tasks of 1hour 30 minutes each covering areas such as engine mechanical systems, engine electrical systems, transmission systems, body electrical systems, braking systems, steering and suspension.
“Matthew has had the support of the extensive technology available within South West College, but also a variety of local garages who have offered their equipment and knowledge to support his training. Garages like TC Autos, David Prentice Omagh, Hassards Garage Fivemiletown, WW Tyres and Todds Leap Ballygawley all need to be thanked for their generous support of Matthew and the College.”
Skillsauto is a partner company of the WorldSkills UK, whose primary objective is to ensure that technical standards and expertise within the UK's automotive industry are constantly developed in line with employer's requirements. It identifies and selects the UK's most talented young automotive technicians to compete in professionally organised and challenging skills competitions.
If Matthew is successful in Birmingham he may have the opportunity to take part in the WorldSkills selection squad, for an opportunity to represent the UK at one of the WorldSkills international events. The 2011-12 SkillAuto competition aims to award medals to competitors at UK Finals but also to search for excellence amongst competitors who may be eligible for Worldskills 2013 to be held in Leipzig.
Matthew said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge of Birmingham. The competition system to date, the intercampus college and the regional NI finals have been a great learning experience for me. They have provided me with vital experience in working under pressure in a competitive environment, so I hope I perform well in the UK competition.”
This competition provides students with the opportunity to prove that they have what it takes to be crowned the best new technician in the country. You can follow Matthew’s progress by becoming a friend of the motor vehicle department on South West College’s Facebook page.