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Andrew Lenegan, Regional Account Manager for Prodigy Learning, Alex Campbell, Joe Poole and Jeanette Banks, Curriculum Leader in ComputingTwo St Helens College students are competing for a place at the prestigious Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship in Dallas, Texas. A global competition that tests students' skills on Microsoft Office applications.

Computing students, Joe Poole and Alex Campbell, are the only two students in the North of England who secured places in the competitive national finals after acing the regional tests.

The pair successfully competed in the popular technology skills competition to demonstrate their mastery of Microsoft Office products and completed unique project-based tests to demonstrate their ability in Word and Excel.

There are two qualifying rounds between October 2014 and May 2015. In this first round that Joe and Alex competed in, only 10 young people were selected from 5,000 UK entries using the 'top score method', which takes into consideration the highest exam score gained in the lowest amount of time. The top 10 students from both rounds will then come together for the UK Final in June at an event hosted by Prodigy Learning and Microsoft at Microsoft UK head office in Reading.

Microsoft Office Specialist Certification is offered to students at St Helens College alongside their full-time course in order to boost their employability. The qualification gives students a way to become tangibly prepared for the world of work.

Alex, a former Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning pupil said, "I am currently studying for my BTEC IT Level 3 Extended Diploma at the College. I thought the competition would be a great way to upskill and build my confidence. I have always loved computers and my tutors here at the College have been nothing but supportive, without their assistance I would be nowhere near where I am today. I am excited for the national heat and I certainly hope I'm stepping on a plane this summer to represent St Helens College in the finals."

Joe, a former Sutton Academy pupil said, "I have always been interested in computers and in particular the web industry. After scoring highly in my exam, I'm hoping to continue my success at the next stage of the competition and hope that this hard work and commitment will help me secure a job in the industry. It will certainly look good on my CV"

Jeanette Banks, Curriculum leader for Computing at St Helens College said "The pair have done incredibly well to get this far, they show a great aptitude for the subject. We are delighted to be supporting them in the next stages and it presents an excellent opportunity for them both to develop their industry skills, network and enhance their CV. The qualification is industry recognised and will certainly impress prospective universities and employers."

Andrew Lenehan, Regional Account Manager for Prodigy Learning who provide the certification at St Helens College said "The MOS world championship has been running for a number of years, with the main aim to drive up digital skills. From a UK and Liverpool City Region perspective it sits very well with the Digital Agenda of the Government. The UK has a great recent history in the competition with three winners in the last 5 years, and whilst these winners were all from the South I will be hoping that Alex and Joe can show that anything the south can do we can do just as well in the north! We are delighted at the success of St Helens College."

If successful at the national final, the pair will battle it out in a four day final in Texas to scoop a $7,500 prize.

To find out more information on Computing courses at St Helens College call 0800 99 66 99.

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