Edwin lands top spot in skills test

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Two computer science students at West Nottinghamshire College are celebrating success in a regional skills competition designed to test would-be IT technicians.

Edwin Jowett and Tom Hardwick, both 18, achieved top-three positions in the qualifying heats of the WorldSkills IT Support Technician competition held at Grimsby Institute recently.

Edwin, from Edwinstowe, came first in the prestigious event while classmate Tom, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, took third place.

One of 11 regional heats across the UK, it saw nine competitors from West Notts, Chesterfield College and Grimbsy Institute battle it out against-the-clock in a series of complex computer-related challenges.

The contest was made even tougher for Edwin, who competed despite feeling unwell on the day.

He said: “I was physically shaking to begin with because I had flu-like symptoms and felt quite ill.

“This made it more difficult to focus, and it took me a bit longer to complete some of the tasks than I would’ve liked, but I was determined to do my best.

“Although the competition was quite hard, the training really helped. It’s amazing that I’ve won, I’m still surprised by it.”

The competition is designed to test students’ essential skills for a career as an IT support technician, who typically operate on the front-line repairing and configuring PCs, routers and networks for clients.

They had just four hours to complete tasks such as building PCs, installing a Windows operating system, configuring hardware and software, and connecting the computers to wireless and wired networks.

Computing tutor Aaron Hulka said: “We’re really proud of what Edwin and Tom have achieved. They put their hearts and souls into the training and came out on top, like we knew they would.

“They’re a credit to the college, their families and themselves.”

WorldSkills regional heats are held in colleges, workplaces and at trade events across the UK from April to July each year.

Edwin and Tom are now eagerly waiting to discover whether they will progress to the national finals in November.