Crumlin landscape gardener Matthew Bradley has attended a reception hosted by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry to celebrate Northern Ireland’s success at the recent WorldSkills competition in Leipzig, Germany.
Matthew, who trained at CAFRE in Greenmount, was a member of Northern Ireland’s nine-strong group on the 34 member Team UK for WorldSkills.
At the ceremony at Parliament Buildings to celebrate the success of Northern Ireland’s competitors, the Minister said: “All nine of these young men deserve the highest praise for being selected as the best person to represent the UK in their particular skill to compete against the best of the best from across the globe.
“Skills competitions are a key tool in raising standards of training, promoting skills, up-skilling the workforce, enhancing business performance in the economy and showcasing the opportunities that a vocational career route can offer.
“Ensuring that Northern Ireland has a skilled workforce is fundamentally important to our economy and developing new young talent is a vital part of that.”
The Minister highlighted that Northern Ireland had again achieved success on the world stage with the nine strong team.
This was the highest representation from any of the UK regions and the Northern Ireland competitors won a bronze medal and six Medallions for Excellence.
Matthew said: “The whole WorldSkills experience was just amazing.
“The months before it were really tough fitting my training for WorldSkills around work and family responsibilities but it has been totally worth it.
“It was great to show the world how Apprenticeships/vocational training can enable young people to gain a real qualification and a real future.”
A bronze medal in autobody repair was awarded to Matthew Quinn, a student at Belfast Metropolitan College/Riverpark Training and employed by Charles Hurst.
Six other competitors won Medallions for Excellence, which are awarded to those who reach the world class level in their discipline.
The Minister also praised those who trained and supported the competitors throughout their journey.
He commented: “This is an outstanding achievement not only for the young people, but also for their families, employers and tutors.”