David McCay a lecturer in craft at North West Regional College is a skills competitions diversity champion and has a personal interest in developing young people. His son has additional needs and his passion for getting the best out of life for him has translated to positive action in the classroom for every student from level one right through to level three.
He has prepared hundreds of learners for the world of work, competition, internal, local, national and WorldSkills. He encourages every student to do their best and rewards effort as well as excellence. He develops their confidence and I have had the pleasure of observing and listening to him as he champions everyone. David has inspired other lecturers to incorporate skills training into curriculum and project-based learning as it supports all learners to develop the skills required by employers.
David is fair, kind, considerate and is passionate about skills training. He inspires and then hones talent. A student may have additional needs and David champions that student and gives them time, targeted support and positive interventions to support their growth and ability. His diverse knowledge of the skills curriculum allows him to assess quickly and point that student in the right direction to support achievement whether that is most improved or a student performing in a WorldSkills Competition. David’s skills have extended to transformational work with the local prison where he brought competition and a sense of self-worth to inmates and college staff.
He is modest and gentle whilst being firm but fair. His workshop is welcoming and a hive of activity. His mantra is for every learner to achieve useful employment. In work-based learning, David works with young people from special and mainstream schools through the Entitlement Framework, and post-16 learners who choose the college for vocational courses.
David has worked with the Department of Economy and the Construction Industry Training Board to get competition funding for all curriculum areas so that time and budget is allocated to competition training. He champions competition across the college to develop learners’ confidence, ability, time management, reading and interpreting a brief and the planning needed to complete successfully.
He has been training students for competitions since 1996 with his students winning numerous gold medals at regional competition and four gold, one silver and three bronze medals at national level. He has also taken two students to WorldSkills international competitions as UK representatives. In 2017 he got the Hairdressers involved and they have been successful at WorldSkills UK. For the past three years science has also signed up and with David’s support they have achieved a WorldSkills UK gold medal. All teams are now realising the positive benefits of involvement. Our college students are predominately from quintiles one and two and for them to be afforded these opportunities is fantastic.
David also hosts SkillBuild NI, a huge undertaking where he invites all local schools to the event to inspire others to follow skills pathways to employment. In an area of high unemployment and social deprivation this is transformative and empowering.
Having been awarded NWRC Skills Champion (November 2022). He has now accepted the challenge of driving competition across four academic departments out of professional determination to drive opportunities for learners. That has cumulated this year with 14 curriculum areas now taking part in competitions.
David has written the skills strategy for the college and achieved buy-in from the new Director of Curriculum and his ambition has been heard by leadership and management and the curriculum leadership teams. A resource of time can now be allocated across all departments as the expectation is that competition success is important for reputation in a very competitive world.
His planned activities are SMART, inclusive, innovative and motivational as he welcomes hundreds of school students to SkillBuild Competitions annually to highlight the range of professional and vocational careers available.