Belfast Met student engineers gold medal at UK finals
A gifted Hungarian engineering student who recently adopted Northern Ireland as his home has clinched a top prize in his field at a UK-wide competition.
Balint Bogdan (20), who is studying electrical engineering at Belfast Metropolitan College, spent up to 10 hours a day preparing for the WorldSkills UK contest held at the weekend.
The student won the industrial electronics gold medal after three days of intensive exercises before an audience of 80,000 at Birmingham's NEC against more than 100 contenders.
Balint had made it to the final after being selected through a series of regional heats which were managed by engineering employer body Semta.
Semta represents 138,000 engineering, science and manufacturing technology companies with a 1.66m-strong workforce and generates annual revenues of £309bn for the UK economy.
Balint moved to Belfast three years ago to assist his parents' move here and to help them settle in, since he spoke English.
Balint said it was unbelievable to be crowned champion.
"When I first moved to Belfast it was hard and it was a challenge but now it is great," he added.
"Back in Hungary I would not get the support I have had from Belfast Metropolitan College."
Ann Watson, the chief operating officer of Semta, said: "Balint has brought his skills to Northern Ireland, embraced the culture and is now one of an army of talented young people who can bring enormous benefit to the UK's economy."