Skills Competition success for food preparation learner from Newtown
A 28-year-old from Newtown has won gold in the food preparation foundation level final of a national skills competition.
Skills Competition Wales is a Welsh Government-backed series of events designed to celebrate vocational skills and create a highly skilled Welsh workforce for the future.
With Olympic athletes training hard for the imminent games in Rio, Gavin Hardman is just one of 78 Welsh youngsters who have been perfecting their skills in a bid to win a medal. Across a range of vocations from graphic design to patisserie, these budding skilled champions, like Olympians, have been training hard this year.
Gavin, from NPTC Group Newtown Campus, competed against 13 other students from across Wales. Finalists completed a series of food preparation challenges within a 90 minute time period. The competition included preparing an afternoon tea for one testing skills in health and safety, hygiene, knife skills, use of equipment, knowledge of flavour combinations and presentation. Gavin, who is studying a level 2 course in Independent Living Skills, said he is thrilled to have won.
“I really wasn’t expecting to win and just getting through the preliminary sessions was an achievement itself, so to get the gold medal competing against so many other students was amazing. I’ve been interested in learning to cook for a while and took a module in food preparation to get better at baking at home.
“I practised making afternoon tea quite a few times, so both my tutors and my partner have had quite enough tea and cake to last a lifetime! I’m glad my tutor encouraged me to enter – it’s really sparked my interest in baking, next year, I’ll take another course in cookery.”
Skills Competition Wales forms part of the Welsh Government’s Growth and Sustainable Jobs Programme, designed to promote the importance of vocational skills with the aim of boosting the overall skill capabilities and prosperity of Wales.
Supported by the European Social Fund and the Welsh Government, and run by a network of colleges and work based learning providers, a total of 30 local Skills Competitions will be taking place between February and April, in a range of sectors from forensic science and car mechanics to web design and nail art.
Gavin may now go forward to represent NPTC Group in the food preparation Inclusive Skills Competition, with the aim of potentially representing Team Wales at this year’s Skills Show in Birmingham in November.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James AM said:
“Year on year the level of talent at Skills Competition Wales keeps on improving. These events encourage healthy competition and are a great way of recognising the fantastic talent that we have in our country.
“Dozens of colleges, Sector Skills Councils and work-based learning providers across Wales are already involved in the Skills Competition Wales initiative and have played a huge part in organising the heats and finals, but we’re keen to see more Welsh businesses support their talented young employees and encourage them to enter.”
The Deputy Minister added: “It takes a lot of hard work to get to the final round but to win gold is a fantastic achievement. It is clear that all the competitors are extremely passionate and determined to be named the best in Wales.
“We wish Gavin the very best of luck in his future studies.”