TWO Barnsley College students have fended off competition from across the UK to be named as finalists in the prestigious Enginuity Skills Awards.

Elliot Barton and Jamie Baines make up two-thirds of the T Level student category of the awards, with other categories recognising apprentices and employers who also showcase excellence in skills development.

Enginuity, the charity dedicated to closing skills gaps in UK engineering and manufacturing, said the T Level award recognises students whose ‘commitment to learning and skills development in both education and the workplace positions them as an inspiring role model for careers in engineering and manufacturing’.

Elliot, who as part of his T Level secured an industry placement with Barnsley IT firm Always Networks, said: “Choosing the course has benefited me in that it’s pushed me to challenge myself practically and academically in a way that a traditional study route would not have been able to.

“With a solid understanding of networking, cybersecurity and IT, I’m considering various paths that suit my interests and skills.

“I feel equipped to pursue opportunities that come my way.”

Jamie, who has worked with the Sheffield branch of computing company ARM, added: “I chose a T Level because I was drawn to the idea of practical learning, where I could immediately apply the skills and knowledge gained in the course.

“One of the biggest benefits for me has been the support and guidance I received from my tutors and mentors who are aware that I am autistic.

“They helped me further develop my programming skills, going above and beyond to ensure I had the right knowledge and support to succeed.

“This support played a crucial role in impressing my team leader at ARM, a semiconductor and software designer based in Sheffield, where I have secured my work placement opportunity.

“I’m aiming to begin my tech career somewhere I can put my programming skills and passion to good use.”

The awards, now in their tenth year, recognise the ‘best and brightest’ young talent in engineering and manufacturing.

Winners will be announced on June 5 at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.

College course leader Thomas Baigent said: “Elliot is not merely a student - he is a role model, embodying the values of dedication, innovation, and leadership that the award seeks to honour.

“Jamie’s influence hasn’t stopped in the classroom as he left a lasting impression on a guest speaker from Cognizant.

“This demonstration of excellence opened doors to an extraordinary opportunity - an offer of tutelage from Cognizant, propelling Jamie’s programming skills to new heights beyond the course.”