Beating a pool of more than 700,000 hopeful competitors and 150 finalists from 40 countries, Avondale College student Aidan Sharpe, 17, won second place in the PowerPoint competition at the 15th annual Microsoft Office Specialist World Championships held in Orlando, Florida last week.
The global competition tests the expertise of tech wizards aged 13-23 as they create documents and complete timed tasks in PowerPoint, Excel or Microsoft Word with accuracy and speed. Convened by computer skills certification company Certiport, Aidan also took home a cash prize of USD$3,750.
Narrowly missing out on a medal was fellow Avondale College student Di Kun Ong, who placed fifth in the Microsoft Excel competition; the third consecutive year that he has achieved results within the world’s top ten.
Australasia now boasts a total of eight top-10 place winners in the competition’s history – all eight from Avondale College! Both Ong and Sharpe have also earned multiple industry-recognised Microsoft certifications as part of their involvement in Avondale College’s Innovation Programme. The Auckland secondary school is now New Zealand’s largest provider of ICT industry qualifications.
“In today’s global economy these young people understand that Microsoft Office Specialist certification gives them an edge and prepares them for success,” says Bob Whelan, president of Pearson Assessments which owns Certiport. “The competition is a lot of fun, but it also gives participants a valuable, industry-recognized certification on their resume.”
PowerPoint whiz Sharpe attributes his success in the competition to having developed creative thinking skills rather than rote learning. “The task is more about engaging problem-solving skills – you just have to figure it out,” he says.
His top tips for PowerPoint users: get to grips with the slide master feature, and always make sure your design suits the purpose of the presentation.
Source: Avondale College