A YOUNG performing arts group from Swindon is celebrating after winning a national award.

Pik ‘n’ Mix, from Swindon Academy, took home the Showstopper Challenge award at Pearson’s national BTEC Awards.

The awards are part of the annual national celebration of vocational education, with the ceremony held at Central Hall in Westminster and hosted by financial journalist and TV Presenter Steph McGovern .

Aaron Chumber, Connor Newdick, Holly Morris and Millie Mckenzie form the group who performed at the ceremony, taking the top prize in their category.

The second annual Showstopper Challenge gave the five winning groups the chance to put their skills in the spotlight and perform live on stage.

Head of music and curriculum leader for performing arts at Swindon Academy, Leigh Matthews, said: “Aaron, Connor, Holly and Millie have always loved performing.

“They were inspired to study BTEC music and drama at both Level 2 and Level 3 by their teachers and the successes of former students who had also studied on the BTEC courses.

“They are all in agreement that the courses have developed their skills and provided them with amazing experiences, preparing them well for a career in the performing arts industry. Performing music and drama makes these four young people happy. BTEC provided the stage for this to happen.”

This year’s competition was judged by Paul Webster, subject advisor for performing arts at Pearson, who was impressed with the talent and skill showcased in entries received from across the country.

Pearson involvement with BTECs has spanned 30 years; the hands-on vocational qualifications continue to be respected as a valuable route straight into employment, and into employment via university.

Rod Bristow, president of Pearson in the UK, said: “The BTEC Awards were set up to celebrate and recognise the wide range of skills and achievements of the learners who take the qualifications. The Showstopper Challenge is a fantastic way to showcase the talent of those taking BTECs in the performing arts and I want to offer my congratulations to Pik ‘n’ Mix for their fantastic performance.”

The ceremony was attended by the winners, their families and teachers, as well as leading stakeholders from the education and business worlds.