The CWLEP’s Productivity & Skills Business Group is focused on improving skills, employability and productivity.
It is supportive of WorldSkills UK which is a partnership between businesses, education and Governments that accelerates young people’s careers to give them the best start in work and life.
In this blog, 20-year-old Chloe Lloyd-Hughes from Nuneaton explains the difference the Coronavirus pandemic has made to her training in her bid to represent the UK in the ‘skills Olympics’ of WorldSkills in Shanghai in 2021.
The international WorldSkills competition is the pinnacle for apprentices and students throughout the globe since it attracts over 1,000 young people in 50 different skills.
I never imagined when I started my level one professional cookery qualification at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College that I would be among the final three, ready to represent the UK in Shanghai next year
With the support of my lecturer Jason Thacker at the Nuneaton campus, I completed level two and three and started entering competitions.
In 2018, I earned a Gold medal for culinary arts in the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK’s Competitions which were set-up to equip young people with the world-class skills needed to help UK businesses compete better globally, and my success fast-tracked me to the UK finals last year.
Again, it was an opportunity to impress the judges in three days of competition at the NEC in Birmingham when I created an appetiser, a main course which included lobster, and dessert.
I found it easier last year because I had the experience of the previous year and I knew the lay-out and the equipment which would be available so I felt that gave me an advantage.
The result was a place in the UK squad for Shanghai 2021 and now the squad has been whittled down to three as people have been eliminated at different stages
Since we can’t physically meet up at the moment, it has meant myself and my fellow chefs from London and Ireland, along with the training managers, meeting online via Zoom every Wednesday to learn about techniques and methods.
We’re learning different classical techniques for soups and starters and different cookery skills and I’m finding it all really interesting.
After leaving college, I started working at the Sunnyside Inn in Nuneaton full-time and I’m now team leader. I like the team I work with there and it is like a family unit and the customers are really, really nice.
Shanghai would be a proper test because we will be given a brief and have 15 hours over four days to create the dishes. We will be competing against students from all over the world including China, Russia and Spain so it will be really tough.
There are three of us left now in the squad and at each stage, you are judged on a different element of cookery, and it has been hard to see others leave because you do become friends.
We don’t know when the next round is because of the Coronavirus but we’re all still working really hard on becoming better chefs and learning new skills and that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my career.
Caption: Chloe Lloyd-Hughes