Group - Group's students excel at KFE4Skills 2023
Search form

Group's students excel at KFE4Skills 2023

EKC Group has excelled at the 2023 KFE4Skills competition, with its students picking up 50 medals.

Hosted at the Group’s Canterbury College on Friday 10 March, the Kent Further Education (KFE) organisation brought together learners from EKC Group, MidKent College and North Kent College to battle it out across 23 disciplines.

Putting their skills to the test, categories ranged from Brickwork to Media Makeup and saw students meeting their peers from across Kent.

Students being given instructions before the construction-based contests began

EKC Group had a strong showing all round, with clean sweeps in Automotive Technology, Avant-garde Hairdressing, Electrical Installation, Hairdressing Cut and Blow Dry, Health and Social Care, Plumbing, and Welding.

One winner among these was Canterbury College’s Kyle Hulks, who recently came second at the national Sparks Learner of the Year competition.

Kyle Hulks (centre) won the Electrical Installation category amid a clean sweep of medals for Canterbury College

He said: “What we had to do was very similar to the national competition, but with a few more bits included – still there was nothing I felt was too difficult. It was really fun to compete against my coursemates, but it was challenging because I didn’t know everyone and you don’t really know what they can do.”

Sheppey College’s Jena Gates triumphed in the Cut and Blow Dry category, having recruited coursemate Tilly Ashby Howe to be her model.

She said: “I was 100% confident heading into it, but admittedly I was a bit surprised at how long we had to do it. It was a bit of rush at the end, but I’m really proud of what I achieved.

“When I heard I’d won I was honestly mostly nervous because I was worried about going up onstage, but obviously it’s really nice to be recognised by the judges.”

Ashford College's Kacey Moore won the avant-garde hairdressing competition with her nautical look

Freya Nightingale from Canterbury College came top in the Digital Video Production contest with her short film titled Choices, despite a large number of entries from the other Colleges.

She said: “It was good that we were in a familiar environment, as we were able to just get started without having to familiarise ourselves with the computer system or building.

Freya Nightingale (centre) worked with Vinny Smith-Carpenter and Ella Carter on the project

“I only got told I was entered into the competition a couple of weeks ago; a lot of people here had entered work specifically to get to this stage of the competition, whereas I was chosen from a random assignment. I think that really worked well for me, because it made the opportunity more exciting and I wasn’t stressing about it for a long time beforehand.

“The video I created highlighted the contrast between war and the desolation it brings, to the pureness and beauty of nature. Time flew so quickly, especially as you spend so long just reviewing the available footage and collating the best parts, so it got to crunch time at the end.”

She was joined in her victory by Vinny Smith-Carpenter and Ella Carter, who assisted her in producing the winning entry.

KFE Operations Director Mark Hill led the event and handed out awards

The day-long KFE4Skills event was the culmination of almost a year of planning, requiring the time, effort and dedication of dozens of staff members. Heading up the project was KFE Operations Director Mark Hill, who was on hand to ensure the competition’s smooth running and to dish out the winners’ medals.

Speaking after the successful event, which saw 160 competitors and 40 student helpers get involved, Mark said: “It’s been fantastic, it’s great to see the talent we have across the three Colleges and to for the students to meet peers from across the county.

“We started organising this event in October and each year takes an enormous amount of communication. This year’s required the hard collaborative effort of 60 staff members, who I’d like to thank for their dedication and effectiveness.

“It was also fantastic to have so many external partners and local employers here as judges, I’m grateful to them for giving their time and for providing entrants with useful feedback from an industry perspective.”

Awards were given out in front of an enthusiastic crowd

EKC Group Chief Executive Graham Razey OBE said: “This is always my favourite day of the year, to see all the learners and staff from across the Colleges come together. It’s always exciting to see what the students can achieve, as this is a chance to showcase what they’ve been learning all year.

“It’s also important to remember that behind every single competitor is a team of staff who have got them to the point they are at, giving them the education they need to show off their skills at an event like this."

Graham also thanked the event’s main sponsors, Iliffe Media, NHS Kent and Medway, City & Guilds and the Education & Training Foundation.