Story courtesy of Duncan Foulkes Public Relations:
Seventeen year old electronics learner Corey Nixon from Gower College Swansea was a runner up at Wales’ VQ Learner of the Year showpiece awards ceremony on VQ Day at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus. He was one of six finalists from across Wales who were all congratulated by Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates.
VQ Day is a national celebration of people who have achieved success in vocational education in Wales.
Described as a college role model, Corey has won the Skills Competition Wales industrial electronics contest, a major achievement for a learner of his age, and led the Gower College Swansea team to victory in the Engineering Education Scheme Wales’ best working solution project.
In addition, he hopes to go on to represent the college in the WorldSkills UK industrial electronics final and to win a place in the UK squad for the next round of the global competition.
His interest in electronics began at the age of 14 when he joined Gower College Swansea and achieved a GCSE A grade in the subject. He was also in the first group of learners from Wales to complete the Digital Home Technology Integrator Audio Video and Networks Level 2 course, which he passed with flying colours.
Completing his first year on the Extended Diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering, he is now preparing for employment on a college work release programme with Building Services Controls at Felinfach, which constructs electronic control panels.
“I have always been interested in electronics because I like to know how things work,” said Corey. “I would like to go to university and then get a job in electronics.”
Winner of the VQ Learner of the Year Award was St Clears nursery owner Emma Thomas.
The awards coincided with the publication of two new skills reports. The Institute of Public Policy Research revealed that, with 3.6 million skilled vacancies opening up across the UK over the next 10 years, vocational qualifications have never been in such demand.
In addition the Employer Skills Survey 2013 Wales report provides evidence that the Welsh economy is moving towards recovery and highlights the skills needed by employers across Wales and within sectors and occupations.
Mr Skates, who presented the VQ awards, congratulated all the finalists for excelling in their vocational learning journey. He called on employers and individuals to take responsible action on skills following the findings of both reports.
“Next month, we will be launching our Skills Implementation Plan, which sets out the actions we intend to take in developing the skills of the Welsh workforce and increasing levels of skills investment,” he said.
“VQ Day reminds us just how many Welsh employers and learners are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing skills. A VQ award is more than just an award; it’s a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession.
“We have no intention of preaching to the converted, but if the Welsh economy is to continue to grow then we must ensure employers, individuals and the Welsh Government work together and invest in the right skills for success.”
VQ Day supports the aspiration that vocational qualifications should achieve parity of esteem alongside other educational routes.
Learning providers across Wales came together to celebrate VQ Day and engage with learners of all ages through providing interactive taster sessions in a range of skills at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus and Coleg Cambria’s Deeside Campus.
VQ Day and the VQ Awards are co-ordinated in Wales by ColegauCymru and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) with the support of the Welsh Government and part funded by the European Social Fund.
Corey Nixon (centre) receives his VQ Learner of the Year finalist certificate from Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates (right) watched by awards ceremony compere Owain Wyn Evans.