Teams of students from the Greater Manchester Colleges’ Group battled it out over the weeks spanning 27th April and 13th May, with 50 individual skills competitions taking place across the region in ten different sectors.
The Greater Manchester Colleges’ Group has been working together at Principal level since 2010, and in 2013 the group established a joint venture company, making it the first of its kind in a city region. The aim of the partnership is to work together to respond to collective challenges by turning strategy into action and providing work opportunities for the people of Greater Manchester.
The skills competitions included Engineering, hosted at Stockport College; Hospitality at Trafford College; Uniformed Public Services at Salford City College; Hair & Beauty at The Manchester College; Art & Design at Oldham College; Construction at Wigan & Leigh College; Sport at Hopwood Hall College; Digital & Media at Tameside College; Enterprise at Bolton College, and Music & Performing Arts at Bury College.
Andrew Hughes, Enterprise & Employability Co-ordinator at Bolton College, said: “Not only are these collaborative competitions an excellent way of sharing best practice among local colleges, but they also help with personal development; they equip learners with the necessary skills and resilience to progress in the competitive world of work.”
While all competing Bolton College learners benefited from the competition experience, a few high-flyers took the top prize in their respective categories. Hamza Mohamed, 17, came first place in the Level 2 Electronic Engineering competition; Lisa Smedley, 31, came first in Level 3 Barbering; Laura Byrom, 25, came first in Level 3 Hairdressing.
On Friday 13th May – the final day of the skills competitions – Bolton College hosted the Enterprise event, supported by NatWest. Each team was set a range of activities, with the main task being the Footwear Challenge: to design and plan the launch of a new sports trainer. The learners had to create a logo, slogan and advertising poster, calculate associated costs and then present all their work in a final presentation. Last year Bolton College learners were the overall winners of the Enterprise competition, and this year they triumphed with Best Presentation.
The Enterprise event provides an excellent opportunity for employer collaboration. In addition to support from NatWest, a number of local employers were present on the day. Dora Mallott, Employability Officer at Bolton Lads’ & Girls Club, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have been part of the day and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with different groups of young people and meeting local business people. I’d be happy to help out again in the future.”
Marie Gilluley, Principal and Chief Executive of Bolton College, said: “Here at Bolton College we are committed to giving our learners every opportunity to showcase and share their skills. One of the College’s strategic priorities is to encourage and help young people to experience the world of work, including the provision of enterprise activities and the opportunity for business start-ups.”