Twenty Grŵp Llandrillo Menai medal-winning students who excelled in a wide range of Skills Competition Wales and WorldSkills' competitions, attended a formal celebratory event at the college group's Rhos-on-Sea campus, marking one of the college's most successful years ever!

Over the past three years, the college group - which comprises Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor - has seen a dramatic increase in the number of students gaining medals in a wide range of competitions.

Its students are performing to a very high standard, and in 2019, finished in third place out of all the colleges in Wales, securing gold medals in a variety of competitions. Successful programme areas included Childcare, Culinary Arts, 3D Digital Games Art, Automotive Body Repair and Electrical Installation. This was the first time that the college group had invited all Skills Competition Wales and Worldskills' winners to appear together to mark their achievements.

Nia Rhys Jones, planning and development manager for Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, who has responsibility for coordinating competitions across the college group, noted:

We are absolutely thrilled with number of high-achieving students this year. The skills which the competitors develop are transferable to their next stage in life, be that in higher education or the workplace.

Their confidence, self-esteem and their sense of pride enables them to reach wider and higher to achieve their ultimate goals. Grŵp Llandrillo Menai is proud of each and every one of the students who took part; winning is a bonus.

Examples of success stories during the 2018/19 academic year include 19-year-old Hospitality and Catering student Dalton Weir from Mochdre, who juggles his studies at Coleg Llandrillo's Rhos-on-Sea campus with working at Watson's Bistro in Conwy. He initially scooped the gold medal at the national Skills Competition Wales competition in Cardiff in the 'Fine Culinary Arts' category. Days later, he travelled to Bournemouth to compete at the Teflon Diamond Standard Awards competition, where he won the silver medal, missing out on another gold by one point! He is now aiming for a place in the Junior Welsh National Culinary Team.

Three Motor Vehicle students from the college's Rhyl campus all bagged medals at the Skills Competition Wales finals. 17-year-old work-based apprentices, Brandon Taylor from Prestatyn and Tiler Moorcroft-Jones from Wrexham, pitted their skills against six of the best young 'Vehicle Body Repair' students from across the length and breadth of Wales, coming away with the gold and bronze medals respectively. A third student, Alex Jones, 17, from Amlwch, scooped the bronze medal in the 'Vehicle Body Refinishing (Paint)' category.

A Polish computing wizard won the gold medal in the '3D Digital Game Art (Advanced)' competition at the Skills Competition Wales national final. 20-year-old Konrad Jastrzebski from Llandudno - who moved to Wales from his native Poland at the age of 14 - scooped the top prize after an intense four-hour competition against the best young games development students in Wales. He is currently studying on the 'Level 3 Games Development' course at Coleg Llandrillo's Rhos-on-Sea campus.

At the Coleg Menai's Bangor campus, 16-year-old Evangela Voma from Bangor was crowned runner-up in the 'Mechanical Engineering Computer Aided Design' finals of Skills Competition Wales, which was hosted by Coleg Gwent in Cardiff.

Last but not least, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor's Art and design student Ryan John, 19, from Harlech, beat competition from across the country to win the silver award at the Skills Competition Wales 'Media and Creative' competition at Coleg Gwent's City of Newport campus.