Scotland's colleges are punching well above their weight when it comes to the teaching of skills.
Last month's SQA Star Awards in Edinburgh provided a platform to celebrate the success of our FE colleges and students in their home country, but also showed a film of their victory on the world stage: two gold medals, one bronze and one medallion of excellence, out of a UK total of three gold, six bronze and 14 medallions at the recent WorldSkills 2009 Competition in Canada.
Martin Eusebi was a member of the flag-waving Team UK at Calgary, where he won a medallion of excellence in mechanical engineering. He was also a finalist in the SQA awards, along with Steven Barthorpe, a young painter and decorator - and UK Dulux painter of the year - from Angus College.
But the SQA award for Skills Competitor of the Year - and the top Pride o' Worth award of the evening for individuals - went to Martin Quinn, a roof slater from South Lanarkshire College.
Martin "showed a willingness and determination to learn and excelled at his craft, even when an accident at work left him with near-fatal injuries and six months of rehabilitation," wrote the college in its submission.
He holds titles for Scotland and Great Britain's Best Roof Slating and Tiling Apprentice, which secures him a place in the next Roofing World Championship Competition, and has won a top trophy from the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers.
Pride o' Worth award for centres, and the Partnership of the Year Award went to Edinburgh's Telford College for its Pathways to Progression programme. Telford has developed a range of innovative partnerships to deliver HNC qualifications for long-term unemployed people, many of whom, it says, are lone parents. These rely on partnership working with college- based study, SQA qualifications, paid employment and extensive workplace experience. Participants are recruited jointly by college and employer, and a project co-ordinator works with the college and SQA to tailor courses and make secure employment a goal for people who would not otherwise have achieved it.
College Candidate of the Year: Ashley McFarlane, James Watt College
Lifelong Learning Candidate: Janice Bestow, Coatbridge College
International Award: Edinburgh's Telford College
Lifelong Learning Award: Cornerstone, Aberdeen
Innovation Award: Scottish Police College.