Software savvy students will put their knowledge of key programs to the test in a competition that could see the best jetting to New York.

Middlesbrough College is hosting a “MOS Test Fest” – a day of exams that will give students the chance to become Microsoft Office Specialists in Microsoft Office programs such as Excel, Word and Powerpoint.

Scores of computing students will battle it out to get the highest score in the best time possible.

It’s all part of the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship – a global challenge in which students from hundreds of countries will compete.

Natalie Richards of Prodigy Learning, a training and certification company that has partnered with Middlesbrough College to run Test Fest, explained: “This is a really big opportunity for Middlesbrough College students to prove their skills and knowledge against the clock.

“There’s the added thrill they could go on to compete at national level – in the UK finals at the British Library in June, and then in New York in August against competitors from as far afield as Brazil and Japan.

“The initiative is all about providing critical digital communication skills that employers need, and giving students the certification to prove their competencies in a 50 minute exam.

“Test Fest is about giving students the confidence to say they know their stuff by sharing their digital badge with pride as well as demonstrating a positive attitude to lifelong learning.”

Nicola Loughran, curriculum team leader in Computing and IT at Middlesbrough College, said: “Test Fest might be a competition but there are no losers.

“This is all about helping students to build their employability and Microsoft Office skills are so important to employers across all sectors.

“We’ll have a lot of fun on the day, and students will also get certificates that will help them with their careers.”

Natalie added: “At first, most students have trepidation about doing the tests.

“But once they get into it they become very competitive and focussed on constantly improving their skill level and time.

“They end up having a lot of fun. Of course the opportunity to travel abroad is another reason to get stuck in!”

First place in the Championship wins $7,000 USD.