Northern Regional College Student has Designs on Winning


A talented young designer from Glengormley has qualified for the finals of the prestigious WorldSkills competition in Graphic Design. Matthew McLaughlin (17), who is studying Interactive Media at Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey campus, is one of seven students from the College to qualify. Having excelled at the College and regional qualifying competitions, they get to pit their wits against the cream of skilled young people from all over the UK at the national finals. The finals, which will be attended by an estimated 70,000 people, will be held over four days this November at the NEC, Birmingham.

Congratulating Matthew on reaching the final, Laura Dixon, who lectures in Interactive Media at the College’s Newtownabbey campus, said it was a fantastic achievement.
“Matthew completed the Level 2 Diploma in Interactive Media last year and has now progressed to Level 3.”
She continued: “He was one of four Interactive Media students from our College to qualify for the regional heat in Manchester. With minimum preparation time, they all did remarkably well to complete a difficult graphic design challenge, which included developing both images and text for a suicide awareness project within the allocated four hours.”

Matthew was placed in the top eight and another student, Thomas Hamill from Carrickferguss is first reserve should any of the finalists not be able to compete.
This has been a busy year for Matthew and Thomas. They were both selected to represent the College on an Erasmus trip to Valencia in Spain. While there, they worked on a joint project with Business Studies students from Northern Regional College, as well as students from Spain, Portugal and Finland to come up with a design concept and promotional materials for a business start-up.
“They are fantastic ambassadors for the College and always give their best to anything they do,” added Laura.
WorldSkills UK competitions are run in partnership with organisations from industry and education to bring together apprentices and students from across the country to compete to be the best in their chosen skills. The competitions, aimed at encouraging students to develop their skills, are designed by industry experts to assess an individual’s knowledge, practical skills and employability attributes against a set of strict criteria.  

Northern Regional College will be well represented at the WorldSkills finals in Birmingham. In addition to Matthew, six other students from the College’s Ballymena and Coleraine campuses have qualified for the final stage of the competition in Carpentry, CNC Milling, IT Software and Mechatronics. 

Gordon Kane, Assistant Head of Department Engineering and Built Environment at Northern Regional College and the College’s designated Skills Champion said Head of Engineering and Built Environment and designated Skills Champion at Northern Regional College said the WorldSkills UK competitions are an excellent opportunity to showcase and celebrate the high level of skills and impressive talent at the College.

“Congratulations to all seven finalists,” he continued. “Their success is a reflection of the high standards of training and commitment across all campuses and curriculum areas at Northern Regional College.”
Further information on The Skills Show can be found at:


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